Protect Your Child at Daycare
We hope you never have to deal with your child becoming injured at daycare; however, if you or a loved one suspect something is wrong at a daycare facility, there are measures you can take to protect them. By following these preventative tips and suggestions, you can lessen the chances of your loved one getting injured on the premises (“slip and fall“) or through an intentional or negligent act of a staff member.
Research the Facility and Staff
Any good Georgia Dawg fan knows “the best defense is a good offense.” The same rings true when you pick a daycare for your family. If you can research and vet the facility before paying your down payment, then you’ve already won half the battle in protecting your child against a facility’s negligence.
Ask the facility and research these questions to make sure your child is in the best hands possible:
- Is the facility licensed and bonded?
- Does the daycare have insurance?
- Are the staff members accredited?
- What is the hiring process like for staff members (child providers, cafeteria, janitorial, transportation)?
- If your child has special needs, can they accommodate them? Do they have experience working with similarly situated children?
- What is the staff member-to-child ratio?
- Has the facility or its staff been sued for negligence or intentional torts?
- Can they provide referrals or testimonials from other parents?
- What kind of sanitation protocols are in place?
- If a child does not show up for daycare, are there procedures in place to notify the parent or guardian?
- Is the daycare up to code and in compliance with federal and state regulations?
- Are there security cameras? Where are they? How many are there?
- If there are cameras, can staff access them throughout the day?
Visit the Facility Unannounced
After you’ve asked these questions and done some online research, it is critical that you step foot in the facility. Nothing is more telling of a facility’s performance than actually taking a visit. That may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many people rely on Internet photos, phone calls, or emails in deciding on daycare. Body language, staff interactions with children, and sanitation issues cannot be assessed over the phone or online.
Show up to the daycare unannounced to see how the staff interacts with the children. If your child is already enrolled, or you have suspicions about the quality of your child’s care, drop in unannounced periodically. If a daycare provider rebukes you, then it is time to find another facility.
Educate Yourself and Your Child
As a parent, it’s critical to educate yourself about current federal laws, sexual abuse warning signs, and appropriate sexual development for a child of your son or daughter’s age. Below are a few things for you to be aware of that could alert you to problems at the daycare:
- Changes in your child’s toilet habits (excessive bed-wetting or soiling himself)
- Extreme mood swings or behavioral problems
- Regression to infant behavior (“clinging”)
- Fear of attending daycare or of a certain staff member or child
- Sleep pattern changes (nightmares, avoidance)
- Mimicking inappropriate sexual acts
- Physical abuse warning signs (bruising, cuts, limping)
If your child is old enough, make sure he knows a few things that are or are not appropriate at daycare:
- No one should touch you in a spot your bathing suit covers
- You do not have to be in a room by yourself with another adult if you feel uncomfortable
- No one should ask you to keep a secret
- Hitting of any kind is not allowed
- If you see something that doesn’t look right, tell an adult
- Other kids should not do any of these things either
If you or a loved one suspect something is wrong at a daycare facility, then contact the police and the Georgia organization in charge of daycare regulations, Bright from the Start, immediately. Our law office has helped families with sexual abuse, slip and fall, and negligence cases and recovered multi-million dollar settlements. If you need help through that process, or if your child was injured in a Georgia daycare, then please call Joel Williams at 833-LEGALGA for your free consultation.