When Daycare is a Nightmare
March 23rd, 2017 by Wapner Newman
We try as parents to keep our kids safe. From teaching them about dealing with strangers to the importance of wearing a helmet when riding their bicycle, life is full of lessons intended to keep them out of harm’s way. Daycare should be an extension of those lessons, a place of comfort and protection. While there are many excellent daycare facilities, there are unfortunately some that put children at risk.
Daycare centers have a duty to supervise children in a safe, clean environment. There are a number of laws and regulations aimed at ensuring that kids aren’t exposed to danger while at daycare. But some centers choose to violate this structure and attempt to operate without any supervision. While those that comply with the rules are generally more likely to provide the proper environment, there are oversights, and it’s the children who pay the price. Common daycare accident injuries include broken bones, concussions, allergic reactions, asphyxia, and poisonings. Several deaths are reported annually.
One such fatality happened in North Philadelphia just before Christmas. A 10-month old girl at the Sisters Childcare Center was found unresponsive and later died at nearby Temple University Hospital. Inspection records maintained by Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services revealed 24 areas of noncompliance for the center in July 2015. A follow-up inspection in October found that necessary changes had been made to meet state regulations for five of the areas. The DHS accepted the center’s plans for correcting the remaining 19 issues and granted a Provisional Certificate of Compliance that was due to expire on December 26, 2015. The areas of concern included outdated or insufficient emergency contact information for the children, a lack of employee background checks, caretakers who had no CPR or fire safety training, unsanitary conditions, and inadequate staff-to-child ratios.
In fact, on the day the girl died, there were only four caretakers for 39 infants. This nearly 10:1 ratio is significantly higher than the 4:1 ratio allowed for centers caring for children ages six weeks to nine months. After the child’s death, the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning pulled the center’s license under an emergency order citing “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 center has the right to appeal the closure. If you are curious about the inspection history of your child’s daycare, you can check state records here.
Kids have the right to be safe from foreseeable harm and injury while at daycare. If your child or a loved one has been hurt in a daycare accident, or if you have any questions about this topic, the attorneys at Wapner Newman can help. For almost 40 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless personal injury victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We offer risk-free consultations and work on a contingency basis, which means that we do not require you to pay any fees until we have secured a recovery on your behalf. We encourage you to contact us today by calling 1-800-LAW-6600 or filling out a free case evaluation form.