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Negligent Child Care Facilities: Recognize the Red Flags

Child care facilities play an important role in childhood development and family time management. When both parents work, they need to know they can trust a day care center to provide appropriate care. From child abuse to negligent facility maintenance, recognizing the signs of child care negligence helps parents make informed decisions and avoid cause injuries to your child.

Examples of Child Care Facility Negligence

Many child care centers follow the rules and treat the children in their care with a high degree of responsibility. Others, though, repeatedly break parental trust and endanger their charges. While a single employee may bear responsibility in some cases, others involve entire businesses. Consider these chilling examples of child care negligence:

  • California facility fails to report injuries. In October 2015, a parent received a phone call that his toddler was injured. The young girl suffered from a broken leg, but the daycare center could not tell the parents exactly what happened. Six months after the initial incident, the center called again. This time the child needed 10 stitches after falling on a bookcase. The center, again, failed to deliver clear details surrounding the incident.

After the incidents, the parents filed a complaint and a lawsuit against the center. The teacher in charge at the time was suspended for leaving children unattended, and the facility received citations for carelessness and a lack of supervision.

  • Ohio day care workers caught hitting children. In late 2015, surveillance captured two staff members striking children in their care. In one shot, a caretaker hit a 2-year-old boy 22 times across the leg with a back scratcher made from plastic. In the second incident, the video recordings captured another worker beating an 18-month-old child with a plastic bat. Far from standard civil negligence cases, this day care incident resulted in criminal charges for child abuse.
  • Texas center possibly failed to notify parents of toddler’s third-degree burns. In September 2016, the parents of a 13-month-old child arrived to pick up their child. They were then informed the child was badly burned. The day care center claims to have tried to contact the parents, but the parents report seeing no missed calls or voicemails. The child suffered from third-degree burns that needed immediate attention. State officials are currently investigating the center.

These cases illustrate the geographic diversity for acts of negligence and the range of cases that qualify as child care center negligence. Every parent must serve as his or her child’s advocate in a child care facility.

A Child Care Facility's Legal Responsibilities

While state laws are slightly varied, child care facilities are legally responsible for adequate child supervision. The level of care a staff member exercises, the nature of the injury, and adherence to relevant laws all factor into child care negligence cases. Under a legal concept known as res ipsa loquitur (Latin for “the thing speaks for itself”), some plaintiffs need only prove that the child was injured to prove negligence (meaning, without some type of negligence, the injury would not exist).

If your child suffers an injury due to malicious actions, inadequate supervision, or improper facility maintenance and care, speak with an attorney about your rights. In addition to filing a complaint with the state, you may hold the facility legally liable for any injuries your child suffered.

Red Flags of Abuse at Day Centers

To keep your child safe at day care, keep an eye out for these red flags of abuse and negligence:

  • Facility workers cannot explain injuries your child sustains during the day. This may indicate lack of supervision.
  • You notice dirty counters, disorganized play sections, and other potentially hazardous practices. Facilities are responsible for providing a reasonably safe environment.
  • Your child’s behaviors change over time, and/or you notice unexplained and unreported bruising. This may indicate physical or psychological abuse.

Many day care centers provide adequate care, but one unprofessional worker or negligent facility can change your child’s life. Take the time to thoroughly research a child care facility before enrolling your child, and seek legal counsel from a Phoenix child injury attorney if you notice signs of potential negligence or abuse.


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