One morning you sent your child to daycare, just as you did the morning before. Only this time, your child came home with a painful eye injury that could permanently impact his eyesight. As a parent, you may be experiencing many different emotions, and you may have a few critical questions that need answering.
How Do Daycare Eye Injuries Happen?
Eye injuries can happen in a variety of ways, including:
- Falls. Whether a child falls from a height, such as after climbing on to a table, or a child trips and falls, the child is at risk of landing on something that could scratch or penetrate the eye.
- Chemical exposure. Glue, paint, bleach, other cleaners, and other products could damage the eye. Children may come into contact with something that they shouldn’t have, such as bleach, or not know to keep their hands away from their eyes when using certain supplies, such as glue.
- Toy accidents. Toys must be age-appropriate. Sharp or small pieces that are not designed for young children could scratch or penetrate the eye.
- Inappropriate use of everyday objects. Something that poses little threat to an adult, such as a pencil, paperclip, or key, could significantly hurt a young child. A child who misuses the object, puts it in his eye, or trips and falls on to it, could suffer an eye injury.
- Thrown toys or objects. When one child throws a toy, a shoe, a bag, a pencil, or another object, it could hit your child in the eye and cause a serious injury.
Many of these eye injuries are preventable.
How Should Daycares Prevent Eye Injuries?
Daycares have a duty of care to all children in attendance. That means that daycares must take reasonable steps to prevent eye injuries, such as:
- Covering sharp edges of furniture to prevent eye injuries during a fall
- Making sure that all climbing equipment, including playground equipment, is safe
- Only providing age-appropriate toys
- Locking up cleaners, paints, and other chemicals
- Not leaving everyday objects around that could cause eye injuries
- Consistently providing adequate supervision for all children
- Providing training for staff members about how to prevent eye injuries
Additionally, daycare staff should know how to do first aid, when to call 911, and when to inform a parent about an eye injury.
What Are Some Signs of Eye Injuries in Young Children?
Your child may not be able to tell you that his eye hurts or that he doesn't see the same way that he typically sees. Therefore, you should watch for potential signs of eye injuries, which include:
- Frequent blinking
- Difficulty opening the eyelid
- Bruising around the eye
- Tilting of the head to see something
- Changes in behavior or mood
If you notice any of these symptoms, then you should take your child to his primary care doctor or a pediatric ophthalmologist so that a full eye exam can be done, a diagnosis can be made, and a treatment plan can be developed.
What Should You Do if Your Child Suffers an Eye Injury at Daycare?
You have a limited amount of time to file a daycare injury lawsuit on your child’s behalf. Therefore, it is important for you to know more about:
- Your child’s medical attention and treatment
- Daycare incident reports
- How to investigate a daycare injury
- Why the Department of Family and Protective Services may come to your house
- Your rights as a parent and how to protect them
You can learn more about these five things by downloading our free publication, A Five-Step Guide for Parents Dealing with a Daycare Injury.
You can also learn more about your child’s legal rights and potential legal recovery by contacting our Texas daycare abuse and neglect attorneys to set up an individual consultation. Together, we can work to make sure that your child’s rights are protected and that the daycare is held accountable for your child’s eye-related injury.