Texas Childcare Neglect Attorneys
For many households with working parents, daycare is a necessity. Our Texas daycare neglect lawyer knows parents have the right to feel confident that their child will be watched and cared for while at daycare, just like they would at home. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case for families in Texas daycares and across the country. Lack of proper supervision is a major concern, which can lead to neglect and a number of injuries or other negative outcomes.
How Does Neglect Happen in Texas Daycares?
Daycare neglect as the result of a lack of supervision is often the root of the issue. In some cases, caregivers are distracted by their phones or are just ignoring the children in their care. Often, there simply aren’t enough caregivers in a room to safely watch all the children. While many states have requirements outlining the number of adults that have to be in a room with children, some daycare facilities ignore them to cut costs. Some states have very high and unsafe child-to-staff ratios set as the state’s minimum standards for childcare. For example, Texas’ current minimum standards regarding the ratio of caregivers to children in care allow too much opportunity for caregivers to make negligent errors, which can lead to kids suffering serious injuries.
How Children Can Be Harmed by Neglect in Daycares
We have seen serious injuries happen when kids are left alone for long periods of time. We’ve seen children get serious burns when kitchen equipment was not blocked off, and other children have had broken bones they later needed surgery for.
Injuries happen when children are left unsupervised, allowing them to use inappropriate toys or playground equipment for their age, or if children were roughhousing and the caregiver does not step in quickly. If children are not properly supervised and are neglected, injuries can happen very quickly, both inside and outside the daycare. Kids can suffer injuries like:
- Heatstroke – Texas temperatures can be extreme, and while it’s good for kids to get outside and play, it’s up to the caregivers to watch them closely for signs of overheating. Heatstroke can be dangerous, with long-term consequences, and it can quickly become deadly.
- Bumps and bruises – While these are often minor injuries and may not be a result of negligence, some bumps and bruises can cause serious injuries. For example, your child could trip over a toy and bump their head. If your child is regularly coming home with bumps and bruises, it’s a good idea to check in on them at daycare as it could be a sign of abuse or regular neglect.
- Broken bones and dislocated joints – An infant rolling off a changing table or an older child falling off a swing set can result in a dislocation or broken bone. It’s possible that incidents like these are simply “accidents,” but they could also be a red-flag sign of neglect. Daycare providers should never turn their backs on children when they are at risk of injury.
- Burns – According to Johns Hopkins University, toddlers and children are more often burned by a scalding or flames, and nearly 75% of all scalding burns in children are preventable. Caregivers must be closely watching kids and making sure their environments are safe for these burns to be prevented.
- Drowning – Spending time in the pool or near water is a great way to cool down during the hot summer months, if children are not properly supervised or are permitted to swim without the appropriate safety devices, they can be seriously injured or even killed.
- Choking – Everything from food to toys can become a choking hazard with children. Daycare providers must ensure children are playing with appropriate toys in good condition to avoid choking hazards. Additionally, they should ensure kids are eating food that’s safe for their age, and that it is cut into bite-sized pieces if necessary.
- Improper sleep practices – The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has strict guidelines about the sleep environments for children of all ages. Daycare providers should be following those rules, as improper sleep practices are incredibly dangerous for children.
In addition to these risks and injuries, neglect and lack of supervision can lead to children being able to leave the daycare facility and wander. Wandering and lost children can cause other dangers like being exposed to the elements, being hit by a car, or even being kidnapped.
Signs of Neglect at Texas Daycares
Daycare neglect comes in different forms: physical, emotional, and mental. There are warning signs parents should be watching out for in their children. Sometimes, the signs of neglect are not always obvious. Warning signs to look out for that could indicate that your child may have been abused, mistreated, or neglected at daycare if you notice the following signs:
- Unusual hunger or thirst
- Unchanged diaper
- Dirty hands and face
- Unexplained bruises, pinches, or scratches
- Unusually aggressive behavior
- Unusually withdrawn behavior
- Emotional outbursts during drop-off and pick-up
Damages We Help Families Recover
The impacts of neglect can be long-lasting, and they can be physical, emotional, and psychological, depending on the type of negligence. It’s important for you to take your child to the doctor if they have physical injuries; however, those visits can get expensive. Medical bills are one area we can help recover damages for, along with:
- Past and future medical visits
- Long-term or permanent injuries caused by the incident
- Psychological help for feelings of abandonment, etc.
- Loss of opportunity/enjoyment of life
Each case is different, and injuries affect each child and their family differently. That’s why our team at The Button Law Firm works hard to investigate every injury and the effect it has had on the child and family.
How Neglect Can Be Prevented at Texas Daycares
Neglect in daycares is prevented by ensuring proper supervision. All states require that caregivers supervise children at all times. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services’ Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers says, “supervision is basic to the prevention of harm.” Additionally, the Texas minimum standards state that caregivers are “responsible for the ongoing activity of each child, appropriate visual and/or auditory awareness, physical proximity, and knowledge of activity requirements and each child’s needs. The caregiver must intervene when necessary to ensure children’s safety.” If caregivers followed these guidelines properly, neglect would be far less common in daycares.
Minimum standards, laws, regulations, and rules only work if daycares employ people who are qualified, trained, and supervised to ensure they follow them. Daycares are responsible for ensuring the people they hire are screened and background checked. Additionally, the employees need to be trained and monitored to ensure they are following the state requirements and the rules of the daycare.
Is there a time limit to file a claim?
In order to make a claim against a daycare, it must be done with the state’s statute of limitations, which means there is a certain time a lawsuit must be filed in. The laws regarding statute of limitations are specific to each state, and there can also be differences depending on the type of claim and who is pursuing it. For most negligence claims in Texas, the suit must be filed within two years of the incident. It’s best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Who does The Button Law Firm represent?
Our team at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to representing families of children who have been neglected and injured at daycare. We are ready to take on your case anywhere in the Lone Star State, as we have offices in Dallas, Houston, and Midland. We also take on cases selectively across the country.
How can you contact us for help?
We have many ways to get into contact with our team. You can contact our team by calling 214-699-4409 or fill out a contact form. Someone from our team will be in touch.
Why should you choose The Button Law Firm?
We are dedicated to advocating for children harmed in daycares in Texas. Our team is ready to listen to you, advocate for you and your family, and help you hold negligent and abusive daycares accountable, so you can find closure and move forward with your lives. See what our past clients had to say about working with us to handle their cases.