Child wearing green jacket outside alone at a daycare. Signs Your Child Was Left Outside or Forgotten at a Daycare Center

Like other working parents, you trust that your child is safe at a daycare center during working hours. However, frequent headlines like “At Least 6 Daycares Lost Track of Kids in the past 18 Months” and “Mother Finds Child Left Behind in Locked Daycare Center” are every parent’s worst nightmare.

In this article, our Texas daycare injury lawyers break down the signs that indicate your child may have been forgotten or left outside at daycare, how these incidents happen, and what daycare centers can do to prevent these incidents of neglect from happening.

How Are Children Left Outside or Forgotten While in a Daycare?

In the most recent report from the Texas Department of Human and Health Services, they cited that 385 children ranging from 1 day old to 4 years old were injured by external causes over the course of nine months, such as extreme heat or cold from being left outside. 

Common situations of daycare neglect occur when children are:

  • Locked in a daycare’s van or bus on a hot or cold day, because state-mandated safety laws, like checking for children in a vehicle are ignored
  • Left behind in a new place on a field trip when caregivers do not follow safety protocols, such as counting children before a van or bus leaves
  • Left outside on a playground when caregivers are distracted, or the daycare is understaffed
  • Left to wander through the daycare’s halls or able to push doors open when unsupervised

How Can Daycare Centers Prevent Incidents of Neglect from Happening?

Plain and simple: Leaving a child outside or forgetting about them is a form of daycare neglect. Texas daycares can prevent incidents of neglect by complying with state-mandated rules such as:

  • Appropriate child-to-caregiver ratios in daycare centers to ensure proper supervision
  • Having a system of accountability in place, such as a parent signing the child in and out of the daycare
  • Providing adequate training and supervision for staff to ensure they are knowledgeable about safety procedures and actually follow them

When it comes to field trips or a daycare’s transportation from a child’s school, Texas has laws in place to prevent children from being left or forgotten. All transportation services that are responsible for the care and safety of children are required to follow specific rules, as outlined by Texas Health and Human Services. The four precautions for drivers when loading and unloading children are as follows:

  1. Load and unload children at the curbside of the vehicle or in a protected parking area or driveway
  2. Do not allow a child to cross a street unless the child is accompanied by an adult any time before entering or after leaving a vehicle
  3. Account for all children exiting the vehicle before leaving it unattended
  4. Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle

What are Common Injuries that Children Experience When Forgotten or Left Outside at Daycare Centers?

When daycare center employees do not follow the safety standards outlined above, children can be seriously hurt. For example, kids who are left outside or locked in a daycare van can experience:

  • Hypothermia from prolonged exposure to the cold elements
  • Heatstroke and dehydration from prolonged exposure to extreme heat
  • Broken bones, brain damage, or spinal cord damage from falling off playground equipment or getting a piece of clothing caught on playground equipment
  • Increased risk to kidnapping or getting hit by a car if the child is able to exit the premises or is left behind while on a field trip
  • Loss of limbs

What Are Signs Your Child Was Left Outside or Forgotten at a Daycare Center?

Since young children may still be developing their communication skills and may not be able to convey what goes on at daycare, these are signs to watch for:

  • You arrive to pick them up from daycare, and they are not there. This is the most obvious sign, and it is a red flag, especially if you did not designate that another family member would pick them up.
  • Any indentations or marks on their skin that could indicate your child was left in a car seat or stroller for an extended period of time
  • Intense hunger. Your child may eat quickly or request more food than usual at dinnertime or throughout the evening to make up from missing a meal or snack at daycare
  • Your child’s face may be extremely red or pink from being left outside in the heat. It could also be white or bluish from being exposed to cold temperatures for a prolonged period of time.
  • Babies and toddlers may have an unchanged diaper
  • Changes in behavior, such as becoming unusually aggressive or withdrawn
  • Throwing a tantrum or acting up upon returning to the daycare center

Our experienced daycare injury lawyers have also compiled a more comprehensive list outlining signs of daycare abuse and neglect here

To avoid any potential damage to a daycare’s reputation, a facility director and employees often refrain from telling the whole truth after a serious incident involving a child. If you believe your child’s daycare is hiding information about your child’s injury or your child’s injury was preventable, reach out to our experienced and knowledgeable daycare injury lawyers at The Button Law Firm. Your family may be able to hold the daycare accountable for your child’s injuries and seek compensation to cover:

  • Costly medical bills to treat your child’s injuries
  • Pain and suffering

With offices in Dallas, Houston, and Midland, we are ready to listen, fight for your family, and help your family move forward after an incident at your child’s daycare, such as leaving your child outside or forgetting them. Call us at 214-699-4409 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Texas Daycare Injury Lawyers

Our team of experienced and compassionate daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to advocating for you and your family if your child was left or forgotten while in the care of a Texas daycare facility. With offices in Dallas, Houston, and Midland, we are ready to listen, fight for your family, and help your family move forward. Our attorneys at The Button Law Firm are recognized on the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers list, and we can help guide you after a traumatizing incident involving your child. We work on contingency, meaning we don’t charge you or collect any upfront fees to get started on your case. Call us at 214-699-4409 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.

Russell Button
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Dallas, Houston, and Midland Texas trial and personal injury lawyer dedicated to securing justice for clients.