When parents send their children to daycare, they are aware that there is a risk their child will be exposed to illness and infection. Daycare centers are not responsible for every illness or infection, but they could be liable if they didn’t follow regulations or practice reasonable standards of care to prevent the spread of disease. Understaffing is a big problem at many daycares, and lack of adequate staff can lead to negligence when it comes to hygiene.
Policies That Should Be in Place at Daycare to Keep Kids and Staff Healthy
To help reduce the spread of disease in childcare settings, experts recommend that daycare centers do the following:
- Sinks should be available in every room, with separate sinks for food preparation and washing hands.
- Food that children or employees bring into the daycare center should be properly stored. Food that daycare staff makes at the center should follow food safety protocols.
- Toilets and sinks should be clean and readily available for both children and staff.
- Children should use paper towels to keep them from sharing towels.
- Toys for infants and toddlers that they may put in their mouths should be thoroughly sanitized before other children play with them.
- Surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at the end of every day, including doorknobs, cabinet handles, drinking fountains, bathroom surfaces, and diapering areas.
- Staff should thoroughly clean potty chairs and changing tables after each use.
- Staff and children should be up-to-date on immunizations, including flu vaccinations.
- Staff and children should be taught proper hand washing technique and everyone should wash their hands throughout the day.
- Staff and children should be encouraged to cough or sneeze into their elbow rather than their hands.
- Staff should be vigilant about noticing signs of illness in children, and the daycare center should have a plan in place for keeping sick children separate from other kids and getting them home as quickly as possible.
- Sick children and staff members should stay home until they have been free of symptoms for 24 hours.
Special Procedures for More Serious Diseases
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has updated daycare operations in light of COVID-19 to include the following guidelines:
- Visitors to daycare centers will be prohibited unless they have a legal reason to be there.
- Anyone entering the facility must have a temperature check. Staff should deny entrance to anyone who has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, has signs of a respiratory infection, has been potentially exposed to COVID-19 in the previous 14 days, or who has traveled internationally.
- Pickups and drop-offs moved to outside of the building.
- Family style serving of snacks and meals is prohibited; daycare providers must ensure that children have their own snacks and meals.
- Social distancing should be practiced whenever possible, limiting the mix of groups of children. Staggered times on the playground and placing nap mats and cribs at least six feet apart are recommended.
- If someone at the center tests positive for COVID-19, rooms should not be sanitized for 24 hours to allow enough time for all respiratory droplets to settle.
What to Do if You Suspect Your Child’s Daycare Is Negligent and Your Child Becomes Ill
If you believe you have enough evidence that your child’s daycare is negligent and your child has become ill, you should report your concerns to the daycare. You have the right to request that the daycare look into the situation. If the daycare is unwilling to do this, you should notify a lawyer immediately. Write down as many details about what you know or suspect about cleanliness procedures at the daycare.
It’s also a good idea to have an experienced daycare injury lawyer on your side. We welcome you to contact The Button Law Firm. We can help you file a civil claim to seek compensation for medical expenses, your child’s mental anguish, and other expenses related to the daycare’s negligence. Filing a lawsuit can also help ensure that other children are not exposed to illness or infection. Schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation today to learn more.