Should a Parent Be Concerned About Daycare or Childcare Injuries or Abuse?
Childcare is an issue that can be perplexing for many Oregonians. On the one hand, some people with children still desire the stimulation and creativity they associate with work. Then there are those parents who would love to stay home with their children, but economic realities require that they work outside the home. Regardless of their reasons, many parents require childcare services.
Of course, every parent seeks to protect children from harm and to provide the safest option available. Certainly, when a child is dropped off with a childcare or daycare provider, a parent drives away with the belief that the child will be protected from harm. But is that always true?
In this article, we’ll discuss whether parents should be concerned about injuries or abuse related to third-party childcare or daycare providers.
Problems Persist in the Daycare Industry
It is frequently reported that many daycare facilities and childcare personnel present dangers to children. Unfortunately, accurate data is difficult to obtain.
The Austin American-Statesman performed an in-depth investigation in Texas, then reviewed records from every state that maintained them. The investigation revealed that numerous children suffer death, neglect, injury, and abuse in Texas. However, the report also found a lack of accurate data around the country.
An NBC News report offers some clarification. According to the report, childcare facilities expose children to numerous safety risks. The article cites a U.S. Inspector General’s report in which the government audited 227 daycare centers and in-home childcare providers. A whopping 96 percent of the locations visited violated at least one health or safety regulation. Examples of dangers included protruding rusty nails, unlocked liquor cabinets, dog feces in children’s areas, and dozens of employees who had not been submitted to criminal background checks.
While childcare issues exist around the country, Oregon has its own problems. The Oregonian reviewed an Oregon State audit which criticized Oregon’s oversight system and found an “elevated risk for major incidents of child harm.” Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on one daycare facility where small children were unsupervised in a basement, food was denied to children as punishment, and a baby was tied up in a crib.
Daycare and Childcare Liability
Daycare centers and individuals who are entrusted with the care of our children have a duty to exercise reasonable care in fulfilling their obligations. Certainly, there are times when a child can be injured in an innocuous, or at least genuinely accidental, way. However, many injuries are foreseeable and caused by the acts or omissions of those who care for our kids.
Here are a few examples:
- Failure to complete background checks on employees - Obviously, not knowing a person’s background can be dangerous and lead to harrowing outcomes. Perhaps an employee had past problems with children that would have been revealed by a proper background check.
- Failure to properly train employees - Employees should be well-acquainted with safety procedures and know how to keep kids safe in a number of possible scenarios.
- Failure to follow instructions – Parents sometimes provide specific instructions concerning a child’s dietary needs, medical needs, or allergies. Failure to abide by instructions can result in a child suffering an adverse allergic reaction or other preventable harm.
- Failure to supervise – This can result in children encountering dangerous circumstances, such as roadway traffic and water hazards.
- Failure to keep premises safe – Allowing dangerous conditions to exist in a daycare facility can result in harm to a child.
- Intentional harm - Unfortunately, childcare facilities do sometimes put children in the way of intentional harm on the part of caretakers, such as striking a child, restraining a child improperly, or molesting a child.
- Negligent omissions - Negligence in a daycare or childcare facility includes failures to uphold baseline standards of care, such as not feeding a child.
If a childcare provider negligently fails to meet legal responsibilities and causes harm, the daycare center and/or employee can be held liable for injuries caused by the negligence. Of course, facilities and individuals can also be held liable for intentional actions that cause harm.
Call with Questions
If your child has been injured or abused while under the care of a third party, you likely have questions about your rights and how you should proceed. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield are experienced at investigating tort cases and take pride in holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions. This is especially true when it comes to our children, who are often unable to protect themselves.