Injury Claims Against Daycare Facilities
Daycare is necessary for many working families and can provide an important resource, especially for one-parent households. However, parents are always understandably concerned about the quality of a daycare center and whether their children are safe. When child daycare injuries do occur, you may want to consult with an attorney to fully understand your rights. Our lawyers in Jacksonville handle cases for children injured in daycare facilities and are always willing to explain your rights.
Injuries, and, tragically, death, do occur at Florida daycare facilities. For July 1, 2018, through February 28, 2019 (8 months), Florida’s Department of Children and Families reports that there were 37 cases of “substantiated child abuse” resulting in 17 incidents of serious injury. For the fiscal year of July 2017 to June 2018, the Department found 89 cases of substantiated abuse with six incidents of serious injury and 5 deaths. Many more incidents and injuries go unreported.
Injury and death at child care facilities can be caused by many factors including: a lack of supervision; access to a swimming pool or other waterway; poorly constructed or maintained playground equipment; sexual abuse; dog bites or attacks; child on child aggression; falls down stairs or due to trip hazards; illnesses caused by contaminated food; food allergies; and the failure to seek timely medical care.
Child daycare centers are licensed and inspected by Florida’s Department of Children and Families. Florida Statutes § 402.301 to 402.319 govern children’s daycare facilities. These statutes establish minimum standards for the care and protection of children in day care facilities. Any facility taking care of five or more children are subject to the provisions of these statutes. The statutes require:
- an adult of at least 21 years of age must be on the premises at all times;
- if any children are under the age of one year, the ratio to caregivers to children, can be no greater than one adult per four children
- for children over one year of age but less than two, the ratio is one caregiver per six children;
- direct supervision is required at all times;
- children may not be released from the facility to anyone other than those authorized by the child’s parents or legal guardians;
- a schedule of activities must be posted and accessible to parents;
- outdoor activities must be provided;
- almost all forms of physical discipline are prohibited;
- all play areas must be inspected daily for safety issues;
- outdoor play areas must be fenced;
- food must be properly cooked, stored and age appropriate;
- the signs and symptoms of communicable diseases must be monitored and children exhibiting such symptoms must be excluded from the facility until the disease has passed;
- first aid kids must be present;
- employees must complete child care training including CPR; and
- a background screening is required for all employees that includes a search of criminal convictions, employment history reviews, and fingerprinting;
Florida’s Child Care Facility Handbook can be found here.
If your child has been injured, neglected or abused at a daycare facility, our attorneys are ready to consult with you at no cost and with no obligation. If we do accept an injury case on your child’s behalf, we will charge you nothing unless we make a financial recovery. We are headquartered in downtown Jacksonville; however, we are happy to meet with you at a place that is convenient to you. Our child daycare injury lawyers accept cases in Jacksonville, Clay County, Nassau County, Baker County, St. Johns County, Union County, Alachua County, Putnam County, Columbia County and Flagler County.