When a parent or guardian drops their child off at daycare, they often do so assuming that the child is in good, trained, and reliable hands. They trust that the people behind the door are professionals with appropriate training. Parents believe that their children will be safe.
Sadly, as Atlanta daycare injury lawyers, we know that this isn’t always the case:
Video courtesy 11Alive/WXIATV
Too many parents get a terrifying phone call alerting them of an injury to their little one. It’s a call that no parent wants to get. This sort of incident a daily occurrence in our state, as the numbers show that at least one injury, on average, occurs every day at a childcare center.
- Boys are more likely to be injured at daycare than girls.
- 60% of all daycare-related injuries were to the head or face in children 0-4 years of age.
- Climbing equipment is most dangerous for children 5-14 years of age.
Why Injuries Occur at Daycare
Children are fast movers. They’re in and out of doors before we know it. They’re on top of counters before we can turn around; however, the rapid movement of children is no excuse for daycare staff allowing injury to little ones. The staff of a daycare is tasked with the responsibility of supervising children at all times. Daycare staff negligence and a lack of supervision is the leading contributor to injuries among children in daycare.
Kids often have a variety of accidents at these daycare centers. They may fall from stools or chairs, tumble off of playground equipment, or even pinch their fingers or toes in doors. Virtually anything can happen to a child when they are surrounded by interesting things to touch, grab, pull, push and climb.
While there is certainly nothing that you can do to guarantee your child’s safety when out of your sight, there are steps you can take to reduce the chance of serious injury. Here are ten things you can do before you make a final choice on the daycare center for your child. If you’ve already chosen a center, there’s nothing that says you can’t take some of these steps now.
1. Look at Licensing
Each state has standards and regulations for licensing. No matter what your state’s standards are, you should be able to locate a license for the daycare displayed on an interior wall. Look for accreditation and then call the local licensing agency.
They will be able to tell you if there have been any violations at the daycare. They will also be able to tell you if the license if valid and when the center will be inspected again.
2. Health Consultant
This isn’t a requirement, but some daycares will have a child health care consultant. This is a medical professional who has experience mentoring and monitoring daycare agencies and staff.
3. Childproofing Measures
A daycare center should be childproofed just like, or better than, your home. There should be a set of policies in place for daily inspections.
A few things to check for are:
- Blinds and window coverings
- Outlet covers
- Blocked off stairs
- Clean toys
- No small objects scattered about
- High chairs and changing tables with straps
- No cleaning products or other toxic substances in the open
4. CPR and First Aid
At least one member of the staff should be trained in infant and child CPR and first aid. Better daycares will have all staff trained.
Check out the regulations for daycares in your city and state. Many require that someone trained be on duty at all times.
5. Child to Staff Ratios
There should never be a single adult in charge of dozens of children. Every state has its own ratios for adults to children. In general, the younger the children are, the fewer can be assigned to a single staff member.
Ratios may be greater during nap time and less during field trips or water activities.
6. Staff Turnover
Ask how long employees have been with the center. High turnover rates could indicate a problem.
People often leave daycare to move into teaching or higher paying jobs, so it’s not completely unusual. But when the center can’t seem to keep people on board, you may want to look elsewhere.
7. Policies Enforced There
You should get a packet of paper when you enroll your child. Included within this should be policies regarding medication, what will happen if there is an injury, discipline, cleaning and more.
Every daycare center has policies in place and they should be transparent. If you don’t receive a copy of them as part of your child’s enrollment, ask to see them.
8. Health and Safety
When you walk through the daycare, how do you feel? You should have a general feeling of cleanliness and safety. Notice if the staff and kids are washing their hands frequently. Pay attention to see if surfaces are being cleaned regularly.
Are infants being put down on their backs during nap time or when they fall asleep? These are all things to pay close attention to and will tell you if the staff takes safety and health seriously.
9. Positive Discipline
Young children should be redirected rather than scolded. When you are visiting a daycare, you are likely to see a child make poor choices. Notice how the staff handles this behavior.
You want to see staff that explains to a child why the choice wasn’t a good one and offers a better one — not a staff that berates or punishes the child.
Any daycare center should welcome parent visits within reason. Ask what the center’s policy is in this regard. You should be able to ask about policies and procedures, make on-site visits, and even stop by to have lunch with your child.
Some daycares will ask that you don’t stop during nap time or other times that may be disruptive, and that’s okay. They should not, however, completely discourage visits.
Our Atlanta Daycare Injury Attorneys are Here for You
It can be difficult knowing who to trust with your child when you are at work or school, but you’ve got to trust someone. When you use the tips above, you’ll be better able to find the perfect daycare center for your little one. With a fair amount of research, you can be certain that you’ve found people you can rely on.
If your child is injured at daycare, you need Atlanta daycare injury lawyers that are in your corner. We’ve handled dozens of negligence cases against daycares in Atlanta and all over the State of Georgia. Call our office today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will talk to you at length and help you determine the best way to move forward with your case.