What to do if your child suffered daycare injuries in Virginia
Kids frequently get injuries in the most unlikely of scenarios. Minor injuries frequently occur at all ages, but parents should carefully monitor any more serious or questionable daycare injuries. If this “serious” type of injury occurs, you should seek immediate medical attention.
As an important aside, parents should always check on daycare insurance coverage for accidents common in daycare settings. Due diligence extends to finding out whether daycare workers are properly licensed and subject to background checks. Church daycare centers are exempt from licensing in most states, and parents must decide whether the lower costs of church daycare justify the risks of unlicensed caregivers.
Assessing the type and severity of daycare injuries
Your first duty of care is to your child’s wellbeing, so that attitude should take preference. Don’t make the common mistake of assuming professionalism. That ship sailed as soon as your child sustained a concerning injury. Hopefully, your child received medical treatment for any serious injury, but you should ask how the injury occurred and was handled. You can begin to relax if the injury doesn’t raise any alarm bells – such as a scrape of the knee or a simple cut. If you know that your child often shows off or gets rambunctious, you can also relax somewhat while getting further details.
On the other hand, the daily news reveals terrifying stories about unprofessional staff, verbal and physical abuse stories, negligence in all shapes and sizes, bullying, and so on. If your child seems to be increasingly prone to accidents at the daycare than at home, you should start investigating.
Child care injury statistics
According to nationwide statistics, childcare injuries at daycare centers average between 0.25 to 5.31 injuries per 100,000 care hours. That seems to be a relatively low rate, but it translates to 11.3 to 18 injuries per 100 children. In the past few years, between 635 and 835 injuries required medical attention per 100,000 children. In truth, children sustain an astonishing range of injuries at daycare centers, and parents need to monitor their children closely for physical injuries and psychological damage.
In Virginia, things are a bit scarier, as the state poorly enforces regulations on unlicensed daycare centers. Virginia was never a great state for childcare and it doesn’t fare well in the more recent rankings either. The vacuum of strict rules takes a huge toll on children, as they risk injury and even death while playing on the premises or eating their meals.
Getting the right legal help
If you suspect child neglect or abuse in a licensed Virginian daycare, don’t worry about being too reactive. Your primary duty of care is to your children, and daycare abuse is more common than people think.
First, start your investigation at the daycare. Talk to the staff and people in charge. File complaints and go up the chain of command until you get some answers. The center’s personnel might refuse to talk to you for obvious reasons.
However, the more silent they keep, the more grounds you have to seek legal help. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Virginia to discuss your suspicion of abuse or neglect. In some cases, your attorney will conduct their own investigation, depose witnesses, and even involve the authorities if necessary. Your child’s bruised knees might not make it to court, but it might reveal a systemic problem making children the victims of their carers’ negligence. People filed lawsuits for far less than this, and you and your child have the right to compensation.
Protection of children
The wellbeing and safety of children across the country are threatened by neglect and child abuse in daycare centers. Unfortunately, those who willingly abuse children often gravitate to daycare centers. Unfortunately, some centers have lax vetting standards, and abusers often get away with their actions for years before being caught and blacklisted from jobs requiring interaction with kids.
For many years, the Child Abuse and Neglect User Manual Series provided a template for detecting child abuse and intervening to protect children’s health. The manuals have been regularly updated, but the last major update was in the late 1990s. Changing community responses to child abuse and neglect have changed the landscape, and relying on a single resource is viewed as too weak a response. Child care centers of all types need to take a more proactive approach to deal with neglect cases.
Better safe than sorry
You should adopt the attitude “better safe than sorry.” That means you can aggressively question staff about what caused the accident until you’re convinced that its root was normal kids’ play and the injury was relatively benign. Negligence might still be a concern, especially if injuries become frequent. If you suspect staff negligence or deliberate injuries, contact a personal injury attorney right away to discuss the case.
Story by Leland D. Bengtson. As a journalist, Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting. His greatest satisfaction is to convey legal matters to the public in a language that they can understand. He is active on various platforms and media outlets, writing about common legal issues that people confront with every day. While medical malpractice is his strong suit, Leland covers plenty of other topics, including personal injury cases, family law, and other civil and even criminal legal matters.