Infants, toddlers, and pre-school kids who are entrusted to a day care facility or child care service provider are absolutely dependent upon these caregivers to keep them safe.
Sadly, these children are absolutely vulnerable to harm and bodily injury during their time at daycare or with a caregiver, babysitter, or nanny. Kids get hurt.
Child care accidents happen much too often here in Indiana and Illinois.
Minor or Major Injuries: Child Care Accidents Can Be Serious and Life-Altering
Sometimes, these injuries are minor. It’s a scrape or a bruise. It’s just a boo-boo that will heal easily enough.
However, sometimes these children are victims of more serious injuries. Things that may seem to be minor hurts at the time can turn into life-altering injuries. Some can be fatal.
In other situations, it is obvious from the start that the child has been the victim of a severe injury suffered in a child care or daycare accident. Major accidents happen, usually on the playground or during recess. These are instances where the boy or girl has a major bleed or break, or even more terrifying, is discovered unconscious and unresponsive.
According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among those between the ages of 1 to 19 years. This is almost half of the fatalities reported for this age group (40%).
These accident numbers are only likely to rise, given the projected increase in the day care business.
Economically, going into the business of caring for kids seems to be a growing trend – one that is worrisome, given the increasing risk of danger to the children that is being reported. For more, read “The Daycare Industry, Exposed,” published in the Pacific Standard, on March 1, 2016.
Parents Trusting Care Givers
Of course, mothers and fathers who are leaving their young children with a day care center or child care facility, as well as a babysitter or child caregiver, have the right to expect safety and security for their son or daughter while they are in the caretaker’s charge.
Where else is there such a great level of trust as leaving your baby or toddler with a day care, and driving off to work?
So, it’s no surprise that a parent whose child has been hurt while in child care can feel seriously betrayed. How could this happen?
State Laws for Those Caring for Babies, Infants, and Small Children
Both Indiana and Illinois have laws in place to protect and safeguard children who are entrusted to care providers by their parents or guardians. These are health and safety laws designed to insure things like:
- Having adequate supervision of all the children at all times
- Having sufficient water for the children
- Having appropriate food and nutrition for the children
- Upkeep and repair of the facility and its surroundings to insure a safe environment
- Inspection of items and materials for dangers and risks, from toys and playground equipment to high chairs and cribs
- Having an emergency plan in place in case of natural disasters.
Licensing Laws for Those Caring for Children
Under the laws of Indiana, there are different kinds of licenses that can be issued by the state for taking care of little ones. They include:
- Child Care Centers (Indiana Code Definition: IC 12-7-2-28.4);
- Child Care Homes (Indiana Code Definition: IC 12-7-2-28.6); and
- Child Care Ministries (Indiana Code Definition: IC 12-7-2-28.8).
For more information, read The ABCs of the Child Care Business, published by the Indiana Association for Child Care Resource & Referral (IACCRR) and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) oversees licensing of day care centers in the State of Illinois. If the licensing requirements are met, then the license is valid for a three (3) year time period. This license must be posted on site, so parents can read it. The DCFS also has a duty to inspect each of these facilities once a year. For more, read the Illinois Summary of Licensing for Day Care Facilities.
There are certain federal programs that will also establish standards for the child care worker, or child care facility in either Indiana or Illinois. For instance, any day care that is connected with the Head Start Program must meet federal requirements in its operations. These include things like having “active supervision” of all the children at all times. What’s “active supervision” for a day care facility under the federal definition? It’s defined as:
Active supervision requires focused attention and intentional observation of children at all times. Educators (all Head Start staff who care for children) position themselves so that they can observe all of the children: watching, counting, and listening at all times. They also use their knowledge of each child’s development and abilities to anticipate what he/she will do, then get involved and redirect them when necessary. This constant vigilance helps children learn safely.
Pursing Justice for an Injured Baby or Small Child Hurt at Day Care
Both Indiana and Illinois provide legal protections for accident victims who have been hurt while being cared for at a day care facility, child care center, or by an individual caregiver or babysitter.
In our next post, we’ll discuss how parents can pursue negligence and accident claims for justice after their son or daughter has been seriously hurt at a day care facility or child care center. Let’s be careful out there!