There are many opportunities for accidents and related child injuries in daycare centers. Considering their developmental stage and the daycare environment, including other children and involvement in physical activities, it is normal for your child to come home with an occasional bruise or scratch.

However, it is not normal for your child to sustain severe injuries, including broken bones, burns, or head injuries, while in a daycare center. In most cases, such injuries result from negligence, abuse, irresponsible behavior, poorly maintained playground equipment, and improperly stored cleaning chemicals.

While California acknowledges the important role daycare and other childcare centers play in allowing parents to work, it is also concerned about the safety of children in these centers. Therefore, it has put in place some governing regulations for daycare centers. The law places a certain standard of care on childcare facilities. It is the childcare facilities or centers' responsibility to protect all children under their care and keep them safe.

However, even with these laws, children still get injured at daycares as the facility or its employees fail to uphold the standard of care the law expects of them. If you are in Los Angeles, CA, and suspect your child's daycare injuries result from negligence or abuse, don't worry. Our daycare negligence attorneys at Fiore Legal will help you seek justice, including compensation for your child’s injuries.

Common Causes and Types of Daycare Injuries

Even where a daycare staff is watchful, children can still suffer injuries. Besides being naturally energetic, children's play tends to be carefree and risky. This can be disastrous if the playground conditions are hazardous or the caregivers are not watchful. As a parent, you need to know how to differentiate a normal daycare injury from one caused by abuse or negligence.

There are many different daycare injuries, including minor bruises, minor scrapes, bites, injuries from child fights, broken bones while playing, twisted ankles, and sprains. While some of these injuries may result from negligence, most are completely normal injuries for an active child. However, if you suspect foul play after talking to your child, you need to contact an experienced daycare negligence attorney.

It is common for children to sustain injuries from slips and falls, fall from swing sets, or be struck by falling objects. However, you need an attorney to help you review if these injuries are a result of negligence. For instance, your child may sustain an injury after being hit by improperly stored falling objects. In such a case, you may have a personal injury claim against the daycare or its employees.

In daycares near or in private residences, a child may be bitten by dogs or other pets. A child may also sustain bites from other children. In such cases, you need to review whether there is enough supervision. If there are patterns of such incidents involving the facility, you may need to withdraw your child from daycare or sue the daycare facility for damages.

Children may also sustain food-related injuries. When a daycare provides food for children, there is the risk of spoiled or contaminated food leading to illness. Some children may also have allergic reactions to certain foods, which can cause serious injury.

Children may also sustain injuries as a result of improperly stored cleaning chemicals and medications. The child may sustain chemical burns from these chemicals, or worse still, they could be poisoned. Similarly, you need a lawyer to help you review the case and sue the facility for negligence.

In addition to poorly stored chemicals and medications, there are other hazards present in daycares, and without proper supervision, they can be disastrous for children. The hazards include;

  • Poorly stored sharp instruments, including razors, scissors, and knives. The poor storage allows children to access them.
  • Unprotected entrances and stairways
  • Poorly maintained daycare vehicles. Children may be injured in daycare bus accidents.
  • Improperly maintained or poorly manufactured furniture. The furniture may have injurious splinters and rusty nails.
  • Using defective or recalled toys and other playground equipment.

Daycare staff or employees plays a major role in the safety of a child while at the daycare. They are the child’s primary caregivers while in daycare. Consequently, they must be properly trained, including on pediatric first aid. In addition to the daycare staff's ability to provide care, he/she must be responsible and trustworthy. Besides ensuring employees are qualified, daycare owners must properly screen anyone seeking employment in their facilities to avoid hiring child predators. A daycare may be liable for negligence if a child is injured by the actions or acts of omission of an untrained staff or, worse, abused by a child predator.

California Daycare Regulations

There are many rules and regulations governing daycare facilities in California. With the lack of enough staff a major cause of negligence in supervision and related accidents in daycares, California is strict on staff to children ratio in these centers. The health and safety staff-related regulations are contained in the California Code of Regulations Title 22 § 101152 et seq. The rules the daycare centers must comply with include;

  • A ratio of one teacher/staff to four children and a maximum of 12 children receiving care shall be maintained for children between six weeks and 18 months of age.
  • The daycare shall maintain a ratio of not more than one staff to six children for children aged between 18 months and three years.
  • For children ages 3 to 4 years, the ratio shall not exceed one staff for every 12 children.
  • For children aged 5 years and older, the ratio shall not exceed one staff for every 14 children.

Besides the staff ratio, other health and safety rules and regulations include;

  • The daycare must have a fully stocked and easily accessible first aid kit.
  • Daycare staff should be certified in giving pediatric first aid.
  • The daycare should properly store all hazardous chemicals and medications out of the reach of the children.

In addition to the health and safety regulations, there are many other regulations that daycares and other child care centers need to comply with for licensing. However, it is mostly the health and safety regulations that are related to daycare negligence.

Who is Liable for Daycare Injuries?

The process of determining who is responsible when your child is injured at a daycare facility can be complex. Daycare liability depends on many things, including how and where the injury took place. Just because your child comes home with a minor bruise or scrape does not mean the staff at the daycare center are irresponsible or negligent. Similarly, you cannot outrightly rule out abuse or negligence.

Essentially, determining who is liable for daycare injuries is not easy. As a result, most daycare centers may ask you to sign a liability waiver when you enroll your child. The waiver usually absolves the daycare from blame in case your child sustains injuries while in the facility. Mostly, the waiver removes the daycare's legal responsibility for injuries sustained by children on their premises.

While the liability waiver protects the daycare to some extent, it does not mean that you cannot under any circumstances hold the facility liable for your child's injuries. There are many situations where the liability waiver does not protect the daycare center. However, you need a skilled attorney's guidance to know these situations, who is liable, and when to sue for damages.

Some of the situations where you can hold the daycare responsible include cases of negligent supervision. For instance, your child was seriously injured by another child because the staff or teacher was not watching the children properly. Other situations where you can claim damages based on negligence include unsafe premises and unlawful acts such as failure to have the legally mandated staff to child ratio.

Daycare Centers and Personal Injury Claims

Mostly, the liability waiver that parents in most daycares sign does not hold in court in case of a serious injury to a child while at the daycare facility. However, parents need to prove that the injuries their child sustained were a result of negligence on the daycare's part. The law requires the parent, who is the plaintiff, to prove that: 

  • The daycare owed a duty of care to the child.
  • Through their actions, the daycare and its staff breached this duty of care.
  • The breach of care directly and approximately caused the child's injuries.
  • The child's injuries were foreseeable and avoidable.
  • As a result of the injuries, both you (parent) and the child suffered damages.

What is Duty of Care?

While daycares cannot protect children from every bruise or scrape, California law expects daycares to do what they need to do to protect children from serious injury. California law imposes a legal obligation on daycare owners and their staff to adhere to a standard of reasonable care to protect children from injury. This legal obligation is what is known as a duty of care. It is the first element that the court must establish before proceeding with a case involving negligence claims. The court must decide concerning reasonable care or what any other daycare center would do in a similar situation.

What is Breach of Duty of Care?

To successfully bring negligence claims against a daycare center for your child's injuries, you must be able to show that the daycare did not do what they needed to do to protect the child from foreseeable harm. Essentially, you must show that through their actions or acts of omission, the daycare and its staff breached a duty of care they owe to the child. For instance, a daycare staff improperly stores cleaning chemicals in a cabinet without safety-latches. If your child accesses the chemicals, the daycare has breached its duty of care if the child suffers chemical burns.

What is Direct and Proximate Cause?

Proximate and direct cause means the breach of care caused the injuries, was the only cause, and there was no other event that could have caused the injury. For instance, in the above situation, you must prove that the daycare's failure to store toxic cleaning chemicals properly was the only cause of your child's burn injuries. Essentially, if the daycare had stored the chemicals in a place inaccessible to children, then your child would not have been injured.

What is Foreseeability?

To successfully prove negligence claims, you need to show that the incidence that injured your child was reasonably foreseeable. Foreseeability is the ability to predict the results of specific actions or acts of omission. For instance, in the above example, the child's chemical burns injuries resulting from coming into contact with toxic cleaning chemicals would be reasonably foreseeable to the daycare staff. In essence, the daycare staff knows that the cleaning chemicals are hazardous and can harm children.

What are Damages?

Damages are the loss or injury that the child suffers due to daycare negligence. The loss can either be tangible or intangible. To prove negligence or a personal injury claim, you need to show the existence of damages. Damages may include medical bills, medications, income loss while caring for the injured child, and the child's pain and suffering. As the last element in a negligence claim, you also need to outline the nature of damages suffered. You may need an attorney to help recover damages.

Contact a Los Angeles Daycare Negligence Attorney

Children are naturally energetic and tend to take risks while playing. It is normal for your child to come home from the daycare with minor bruises and scrapes. However, if your child has sustained serious injuries due to suspected negligence or abuse, you may be able to recover damages. If you are in Los Angeles, CA, our skilled daycare negligence attorneys at Fiore Legal will help you seek the compensation you need and deserve for your child’s injuries. To learn more about our services, contact us today.

Claim What You Deserve

Book A Free Consultation

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.