What Is A Daycare Injury?
A daycare injury is any harm caused to your son or daughter. It can be a physical injury such as a cut or broken bone. It can be a brain injury that is not always visible outside, but inside the skull, it is absolutely traumatic. Sexual acts of abuse are also a form of a physical injury. A daycare injury can also be mental or emotional, such as psychological abuse. This has a permanent effect on your child and can lead to many other physical injuries later on in life.
What Are Common Causes Of Daycare Injuries?
In a daycare injury case, there are a few recurring themes as far as a cause of an injury. Let's start off with a well-known one.
1) Poorly Maintained Equipment
When a daycare facility does not have systems in place to properly monitor, inspect, and fix or replace its equipment, it is only a matter of when it will lead to a daycare injury for one of the kids. Some examples mainly occur on the playgrounds with the slides and swings. These, as well as some others, are used with a lot of force and movement. Their is significant pressure put on them.
If the legs were not properly installed or rust has developed, these seemingly fun toys become dangers to the kids playing on them.
2) Unsafe Equipment For A Kid's Age
One aspect of daycare safety that gets forgotten is ensuring the toys are matched with the age of the kids using them. We all know as parents that certain toys are okay for certain aged kids, while other toys may not be. Since a daycare facility is an extension of you, they must take into consideration the age of the kid when deciding what toys to stock their facility with.
As a parent, this is one area I suggest checking on when deciding on a daycare facility. Make your rounds initially and every so often to see what kids are playing with certain toys.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that leaving kids unsupervised for a moment can lead to disaster. Sometimes a kid gets put into time-out and left alone. That is not good. Kids must be monitored closely, even if they are in time-out and separated from the group.
Mainly, we see kids left unsupervised when their is a large play area that extends around the building. For example, the outside play area extends around the North and East sides of a building. A teacher cannot see around the corner. Rather than standing where the teacher can see all the action, they stand on one side. The best thing here is for there to be a fence that stops kids from going out of a teacher's line of sight.
As a parent, you want to take a look at the play areas and make sure that you would feel comfortable as the parent watching your kids (and really all of those kids) in that space. If not, then it may not be a good fit.
The next phase of unsupervised comes when there is a teacher monitoring, but they have too many kids in their group. This means that their ratio is over the allowable limit. Texas has outlined specific requirements that serve as maximums for teachers to kids at daycare facilities. The ratios are outlined by age. For example, younger kids need more attention and supervision. So, there is a smaller ratio for 4 year olds that there is for 10 year olds.
Daycare facilities that have any kid with special needs must account the proper ratio as well. This is again dependent on the age and type of special need necessary. You want a facility that is very strict about the ratios being a maximum. It is preferable to know that your facility does better than that.
Let me give you an example. We all know how hectic it is watching 2-3 kids at once. Imagine being the person in charge of watching 7-8 or even 15-16 kids at once. This is why the Texas' ratios act as a maximum, but all too often daycare facilities are over these and don't take them seriously.
4) Unqualified Employees
The last common cause of daycare injuries is the one we hear about on the news all the time: unqualified employees. Mainly we hear about these in the context of a sexual predator or sex offender that was not discovered. This is an obvious violation of being a qualified employee.
Even if the employee doesn't have crimes or charges on their record, the daycare facility must take every complaint and investigate. These must be investigated seriously. We have seen certain complaints not be investigated only to lead to further issues later on down the road.
One all too often overlooked is a qualified employee being character traits you would want with someone at your house. For example, you want someone that loves kids, is patient, is not violent, and is good at resolving disputes. Preferably, a daycare facility should try to hire folks that are in the childcare industry working to be a teacher or already one. Also, you'd like them to have their own kids as well. These aren't mandatory but they are preferable.
At the very least, you want an employee who treats your kids like you would treat them. That is what you deserve and have a right to expect when you place your trust in them. You are paying them to be an extension of you. Being qualified is not too much to ask for.
What Do You Do If Your Child Is Injured?
An injury to a child is no different than an injury to anyone else. If you become aware of an injury involving your child, make sure to seek immediate medical treatment. Then you will want to make a report with the daycare facility. Depending on what happened and how the daycare facility responds to your complaint, you should call the police. You want every complaint properly investigated.
Where Can You Learn More?
If your child was injured at a Texas daycare facility, you can give us a call or email us. If you just want to know what next steps to take to investigate or what your rights are, that is what we are here to answer. We have free information on understanding claims in Texas. Request it, read it, and let us know if you have any questions. We are here for you.