Every day, throughout the United States, parents turn over their children’s care to others while they go off to work. When relatives or trusted family friends are not available to provide childcare services, daycare centers may be most parents’ next-best option. As organized businesses specializing in the care of children, daycare centers are reasonably expected by parents to be run by competent, well-trained, and caring individuals—but such is not always the case. Even daycare centers and employees with up-to-date state licenses have been found to engage in intentional child abuse or to make careless errors that result in children’s serious injuries or deaths.
In early January 2015, for example, a daycare center in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, was shut down by Pennsylvania state authorities after a baby girl died while in the center’s care. An inspection by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) of the Willow Grove Avenue, Montgomery County daycare (known as the Wyndmoor Montessori School and identified in documents as the Wyndmoor Learning Center) is reported to have included review of daycare surveillance video showing a daycare employee placing a sheet over the face of the child who was later pronounced dead. According to reports, the employee was observed trying to hide the sheet after paramedics were summoned to the scene, and notification to the child’s parents that the child was being taken to a hospital was delayed while daycare personnel hunted for the child’s contact information. The DPW has also been said to have found numerous additional violations by the center related to child safety and employee training. The document ordering the cessation of childcare services by the center has been reported to state that the daycare was found to have engaged in “gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct in operating a facility likely to constitute immediate and serious danger to the life or health of the children in care.”
The negligence of daycare centers and their employees has the potential to cause children’s serious injuries or deaths and may result in the liability of daycare centers, their managers, operators, and employees for damages suffered by children or their families as a result. Child-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino has extensive experience with child-accident and injury cases, including those arising out of children’s injuries or deaths caused by caregiver negligence. If your child has been injured or has died while in the care of a daycare center or other childcare facility or individual, attorney Killino and his national team of dedicated child-injury lawyers and paralegals can help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled from all those responsible for your child’s injury or death.
Legal Liability for Children’s Childcare Injuries and Deaths
All states are required by federal law to adopt policies for children’s safety and health in daycare facilities. These policies can vary from one state to another but generally require compliance with state codes related to such things as children-to-staff ratios, maximum center occupancy, and emergency and safety protocols. A center’s violation of a state daycare code may be found to constitute negligence per se in an action brought against the center and/or its staff for a child’s injury or death caused by the violation. If a daycare center is found to have exceeded a child-to-staff ratio code, for example, and a child’s injury or death occurs while the child is left unattended by overworked staff, the center may be found to have negligently caused the child’s resulting injury or death. Emergency procedures that violate state codes may also be considered negligence per se causal of a child’s death, for instance, if center staff’s delay in getting emergency treatment that might have prevented the child’s death—due to disorganization or other careless record-keeping—is found to have been a cause of the child’s death.
Daycare centers and their operators and employees may also be found legally responsible for children’s injuries and deaths caused by center or staff negligence even when centers and employees are in compliance with state codes and licensing requirements. All daycare centers and employees have a duty to exercise reasonable care at all times for the health and safety of children who have been placed under their care. The failure to meet this duty of care may occur even in situations not fully addressed by state or other applicable codes or laws. (Indeed, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has found many state policies and codes to fall below the standards recommended by health and safety experts.) Thus, the failure of a center, its operators, managers, and/or other staff to exercise reasonable care for the safety and health of a child may result in the center’s and/or staff’s liability for injury or death found to have resulted from such lack of care regardless of whether the center’s and staff’s level of care met applicable state codes and requirements or even the higher standards recommended by certain safety experts. A center with a safe and legal child-to-staff ratio, for instance, may still be found to have negligently caused a child’s injury or death through the inattentiveness or other negligence of center staff.
Obtain Legal Assistance from Child-injury Attorney Jeffrey Killino
Child-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino has been recognized across the country for his pursuit of justice on behalf of children whose preventable injuries and deaths were caused by someone’s negligence or the use of or exposure to defective products. If your child has been injured or killed due to someone’s negligence or a dangerous and defective product, contact attorney Killino for compassionate yet aggressive assistance with your case.