Has Your Daycare Been Incapable of Protecting Your Child from Injury?
Although they promised to safeguard your child, your child ends up hurt or worse. Even more frustrating is that you may not get straight answers as to how it happened, or you’re told your child was hurt “playing” or by just “being a kid”. Unfortunately, daycare injuries are common. In 1997 alone, 31,000 children were admitted to emergency rooms for injuries which occurred in childcare/school settings. More disturbing is that from 1990 to 1997, 56 children died in childcare settings, and almost half of those deaths were due to asphyxia (lack of oxygen).
Common Causes of Injuries at Daycare
Children ages 0 to 5 are more likely to be injured and hospitalized from falling than any other cause of injury. Fall injuries often result from inadequate supervision or faulty playground equipment (deficient guardrails, insufficient ground cover to soften falls or age inappropriate apparatus for young children). Injuries also result from children ingesting toxins or known allergens due to poor record keeping, lack of staff training or improper oversight of daycare personnel by facility directors. Unlike most other personal injury cases involving adults, the injured child is usually unable to explain how or why they were hurt.
How We Can Help You
There can be many components to a daycare claim, and a number of things to check. Among them we:
- Verify the licensing of the daycare and the credentials of the directors/workers;
- Investigate whether similar complaints have been lodged against the daycare;
- Verify proper use, maintenance and installation of any toys or playground equipment that caused injury to your child; and
- Check compliance with mandated child/staff ratios (they vary depending upon the age of the children).
Free Guide for Parents Choosing a Daycare
Finding a daycare that is a good fit for your child is one of the most important choices we make as parents. Our Guide provides the information you need to help make that key decision.
- Revised Code of Washington Lawshttp://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=43.215 This link provides you with the statutes (laws passed by State Legislature) governing daycare facilities. They are an excellent resource to show you the standards to which daycares should be held and the responsibilities of the Department of Early Learning (DEL) in licensing and overseeing daycares in Washington.
- Washington Administrative Code Provisions http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=170-296A For a comprehensive list of Licensed Family Home Child Care Standards (daycare provided in someone’s home), this is your resource. Significant information is provided in these WACs (Washington Administrative Code—WACs are administrative regulations or rules adopted by state agencies). Skim the index to look for a particular rule regulating a specific daycare practice.
- National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education
An organization dedicated to improving the quality and safety of child care and early education programs.
How quickly must a daycare advise me of my child’s injury or trip to the doctor?
State law mandates that daycare staff must immediately telephone a parent when a child is seriously ill or injured and requires medical treatment (WAC 170-295-7060).
Your case will require close scrutiny to determine its strength and which claims can be made. To answer any of your questions or to schedule a free consultation, please contact our offices.
Can I investigate whether complaints were made against a daycare?
Yes, some information is available by the Department of Early Learning online at https://apps.del.wa.gov/check/CheckSearch.aspx. But more comprehensive information, including sensitive and damaging details not readily offered by DEL, must be obtained from DEL itself. This information can only be obtained through a public disclosure request. DO a Public Records Request--it’s not that hard. Just click on the Free Guide for Parents Choosing a Daycare immediately above on this page and follow the instructions we provide.
Can I report my child’s injury to the state?
Yes. Although daycares are required to report injuries to the State (WAC 170-295-7060), you can also report an injury or make a complaint against a child care center by calling the Washington State Department of Early Learning at 1-866-48-CHECK (1-866-482-4325), Option 1.