Commissioners for Orange County are discussing new rules that would require protective barriers, called bollards, be installed around every daycare center. The proposed rule is in response to the death of a four-year-old girl who was killed last year when a car crashed into her Winter Park KinderCare.
The proposed ordinance would require the installation of bollards that can withstand 5,000 pounds of force going 30 miles per hour. The cost to implement the safety measure at all 700 daycares in Orange County is estimated at $500,000. Supervisors believe that placing the bollards in front of the daycares would be a better use of neighborhood grant money than planting flowers in front of gated subdivisions. As explained by Victoria Siplin, an Orange County Commissioner said, “We cannot put a price tag on lives, especially our children’s lives.”
While Orange County may be ahead of the curve in considering ways to protect young children who attend daycare, daycare injuries remain a source of worry for most parents who have to rely on daycare services for their children.
Factors That Can Lead To Daycare Injuries
Daycare is a fact of life for many American families. In fact, according to a 2014 report by the U.S. government, working parents make up 6 out of every 10 households with children. This includes both dual-earner couples as well as single working parents. And many of these parents know that finding affordable, safe daycare can be a real challenge.
While there certainly are some very good daycare providers, the Washington Post recently highlighted some shocking facts about daycare in the United States, noting:
- Most American daycare centers are rated “fair” or “poor,” with only 10 percent providing “high” quality care. Experts recommend a 1:3 caregiver ratio for infants between 6 and 18 months, but a survey by the National Institute of Child Health Department found that only one-third of daycares met that standard.
- Child-care workers are frequently minimally trained and poorly paid. Depending on the type of daycare center, a daycare worker may need only minimal or no training in health, safety, or child development. Additionally, depending on the location of the daycare, a Florida facility may be licensed or unlicensed. Further, whether the facility is licensed by the county or the state depends upon the location of the facility. For example, the county issues licenses in Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties. Facilities outside of these counties are license by the state, if the type of facility requires a license.
- State regulators often do not have enough inspectors to conduct frequent inspections. The Washington Post noted that limited state resources mean that some facilities are not inspected very often. Also, some facilities may remain open when parents protest closures, which can occur in situations where the facility provides services at hours when parents otherwise have difficulty finding care.
The most frequent types of injuries that occur in the daycare setting include:
- crush injuries;
- chipped teeth;
- face, eye, nose, and mouth injuries;
- blows to the head and neck; and
- broken or dislocated hands, arms, and shoulders.
Legal Help For Childhood Injuries At Daycares
When children are injured at daycare, parents and caregivers may be uncertain what to do. First, it is important to seek immediate medical attention for any injury that appears to warrant it. Sometimes, because of their limited verbal skills, children cannot explain how or where they hurt, so seeking a professional medical opinion on an injury is always prudent.
If the circumstances surrounding the injury are unclear, or the explanation given about the injury seems to not make sense, it is important for a parent or guardian to trust his or her gut feelings and seek more information. If you believe that your child was seriously harmed by the negligence of a daycare provider, or if you have questions about a possible legal claim against a daycare center or other individual who may have harmed your child, the personal injury attorneys at Fasig & Brooks can help. Call us today at (850) 222-3232 or use our online contact form to speak to one of our experienced and helpful Tallahassee attorneys.