Every day, thousands of children all across the country are placed in the care of child care facilities. Since more and more families are struggling financially, it is quite common that both parents need to work, making child care an attractive option. Child care facilities provide a safe place for children to learn, communicate, and interact with other children on a daily basis. While the administrative help majority of these facilities are quite reputable and provide great care when parents are not able to do so themselves, there are times when children are harmed while in the care of others. These injuries can range in severity from very minor cuts and scrapes, to more significant injuries such as broken bones, head injuries, and even death.
Child care facilities, like all personal premises and other types of businesses, are expected to exercise a duty of reasonable care in order to avoid harm coming to all third parties who are on their property. If for any reason this duty of reasonable care is not properly exercised, and injuries result, there may be a strong case of negligence. When negligence happens, a legal claim may be possible in order to seek damages for the injuries that have occurred.
Negligence can occur at child care facilities in a number of ways. One of the most common ways is based upon the legal theory of premises liability. This theory requires all operators and owners of a particular property to be held liable for any injuries that take place on that property. These cases are especially important if the injury that occurred was foreseeable and could have and should have been avoided.
While some might argue that children are more susceptible to injuries because of their developing motor skills and curious nature, and that it is natural for children to suffer minor bumps, bruises, and scrapes, there is simply no excuse for serious injuries to take place. When children are placed in the care of a child care facility, this facility is taking on the role of the parent for a range of designated hours. This means that the facility needs to exercise a high level of care in order to prevent the children from becoming injured while in their care. All precautions should be taken in advance of the children arriving, and all staff should be adequately trained in how to deal with children and protect them at all times.
While this may seem like a no brainer, each year, thousands of children are injured while in the care of child care facilities. Some of the more common injuries happen because of conditions that are considered to be unsafe and unfit for children. Examples of unsafe conditions for children include light sockets that are not properly covered up, stairs that are not properly barricaded, hot items such as a stove or fireplace that are left available for children to touch, pets that are vicious and bite children, non child friendly toys that are thrown or pose pinching or choking hazards, and rugs or other items that are left in travel areas that pose tripping hazards. All of these issues are grounds for a lawsuit should an injury be sustained.
On top of issues with the premises and environmental hazards, there is also the issue of negligence on the part of employees working at the child care facility. Each year a large number of children are harmed because of the carelessness or blatant disregard of employees. Issues such as dropping a child, hitting a child, allowing a child to run off unsupervised, not stopping another child from hitting or hurting a child, or even physically, emotionally, or sexually abusing a child can all give rise to liability and are all grounds for a lawsuit.
Another issue that sometimes plagues child care facilities and is grounds for a legal claim is that of child neglect. There have been a number of cases of children being left completely alone for hours on end, while they were supposed to be in the care of a professional. During these unattended hours children were left in squalor conditions, were not fed, and were left to wander unsupervised causing physical and emotional harm. In these cases the absence of reasonable care is most definitely grounds for a legal claim, as the adults in charge made a conscious decision not to provide proper care for the children they vowed to watch and protect.
While it is quite obvious that the children are the ones who really suffer the most in these situations because they are harmed either physically or mentally, and in some cases, both, the parents also suffer a bit of harm. The guilt that is experienced on the part of a parent whose child has been hurt because of a decision he or she made to place them in someone else’s care can often be unbearable. There have even been cases of parents becoming so overwrought with guilt that they have taken their own lives because they could not stand their feelings. These cases are devastating on so many levels, and are all because someone chose not to do the right thing and act in a responsible manner.