In Orange County, Florida and other areas, day care centers are located on or just off of busy streets, highways, and roads. There have been reports across the nation of vehicles crashing into day care centers. It would seem like a rare and odd incident but cars crashing into buildings housing schools and day care centers happens far too frequently. Orange County, Florida is taking measures to help support and encourage day care centers to put barriers in place for the protection of the children, staff, and visitors to the day care center.
A new county ordinance has emerged in Orange County, which requires new daycares to be built with protective barriers. This ordinance follows a tragic occurrence two years ago when four-year old Lily Quintus, died after a vehicle crashed into her daycare. One vehicle hit another causing it to spin out of control and land in a daycare center. Thirteen people, including one adult, were taken to local hospitals with their conditions ranging from minor injuries to critical condition. See More Options in Place to Protect Children at Orange County Day Cares.
Now, newer daycares in the area could be mandated to have barriers in place prior to their opening. The barriers can vary from concrete balls to large, decorative pots. In addition to these barriers, some other precautions day care facilities can take are adding fences. Fences can also play a two-fold role by protecting children from unexpected vehicle accidents as well as from local wanderers. Most day care facilities have playgrounds with children running around outside. For day care facilities near main roads, these fences should be durable enough to protect the children if a car were to hit the fence. Day cares can also create their own rules to make sure children do not cross a certain line or area.
In Florida and other States, day care centers should essentially be safe havens for children. Hard working parents deserve the comfort and peace of mind knowing that a child is safe and protected in a day care center. Unfortunately, far too many children are injured in the very places (day care centers / child care centers) where the children should be otherwise in a safe learning environment. In the aftermath of a child injury at a Florida day care center, a parent is faced with many questions, challenges, and stresses. It is at this time that a Florid Child Injury Lawyer can provide some help, guidance, advice, and, when necessary, legal representation. David Wolf has over 26 years of experience. From this first day on the job as an attorney to the present day, he has spent the duration of his entire legal career to the protection and enforcement of the legal rights of children. He is the author of a number of books including the book titled – Florida Day Care Center Injuries – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – Building Blocks of Knowledge for Parents. This book has chapters on Indoor Facilities, Outdoor Facilities, Playgrounds, Staffing, Emergency Procedures, Incident Reports, and other topics. You can get this book for free at Florida Day Care Center Injuries.
When evaluating a potential day care center case, there are four elements to establish:
1 – Duty;
In day care centers throughout Florida including Miami, the children enrolled in the child care facility should be provided with safe and nurturing environment. It is important for child care providers and workers to have proper training, common sense, and, yes, patience to work with children. If working with children causing a person stress to the point that a child is hit and struck by a day care center work, that particular worker should be removed from the job, go to jail, and ultimately find a new career. Working with children is no easy task; however, employment in a child care facility or day care center is a voluntary choice by a day care worker. As such, no-one is forcing the day care worker to take the position. Unfortunately, far too many instances of abuse and neglect go unnoticed and unreported. Parents are kept in the dark and the children in the day care center are often victims without a voice and without the power to stop their abusers. However, in many other instances, the day care center worker is caught in the act by another co-worker, management, parents, or other children who take that bold step to report the incident and have the conduct addressed. It is clear that day care center workers should use their efforts and abilities to act in the best interest of the children. It is well known that the care and supervision of a children are not easy tasks; nevertheless, in Florida day care centers, corporal punishment is prohibited. There is no excuse or defense to the hitting, torturing, and harming of a child enrolled in a day care center by a the very people responsible for caring for the child.
It was reported by various media outlets that a day care center through a private charter school in Miami Beach was the site of the corporal punishment / abuse of children under the care of the child care center. In particular, a video surveillance camera revealed that a child care worker documented the hitting, twisting of arms, and other abuse of children who were in the 2 to 3 year old age group. When the abuse originally came to light, no immediate arrests were made. Then, after a week or so of further investigation by social service and local law enforcement, the day care center worker – Clara Luz Quintero-Gonzalez – was arrested. For more information regarding these incidents, see Miami, Florida Day Care Center Worker Arrested for Hitting Children Under her Care at the Lincoln Marti Day Care Center.
It should be noted that the criminal prosecution of a day care center worker is not a prerequisite or requirement for a parent to bring a civil action or claim on behalf of a child who was injured or harmed by a day care center provider. Certainly, it is quite compelling when a day care center worker is arrested following an allegation of abuse or neglect. Furthermore, having video surveillance that actually documents the alleged abuse or neglect can be used as evidence in the potential criminal case or civil case of abuse / neglect in a day care center. If there is believed to probable cause that a crime was committed, an arrest can and should be made. The further prosecution of the defendant will depend on the evidence gathered and potential defenses (if any) that may be raised in response to the allegations. The criminal allegations must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. For a civil case, the standard of proof is by the preponderance of the evidence with is lesser standard than for a criminal case.
In this article, it is interesting to note that strollers and other confined spaces can present a real risk of danger, medical complication, and even death to children in the heat of summer and other months. Since children do not sweat or control body temperature the same as an adult, a glance at a child may lead a child care provider to believe that all is well because the child is not sweating profusely or appear to be that hot or overexposed to the heat. The truth is that child care provides, on many occasions, do not and cannot see that a child is truly a risk and approaching a critical overexposure to the heat. Some times, it is only the child’s outward signs of trauma, arrest, or other significant issues that finally alerts the child care provider that there is a problem.
In Florida, child care providers, summer camps, day care centers, schools and other entities have a duty to keep a child out of harm’s way. One known risk is the Florida heat. Make sure that a child – especially infants and toddlers – are provided with proper ventilation when in confined spaces like a stroller. Furthermore, as we have seen far too many times, a child should not be left unattended on a school bus or school van without air conditioning. Let’s make sure that this point is clear. A child needs to be supervised at all times and should never be left on a bus or van alone – air conditioned or without air conditioning.
In the State of Florida, corporal punishment is prohibited in day care centers. There are strong public policy and safety reasons for having such a law in place. It does not matter that the teacher of the day care center was subjected to corporal punishment as part of his or her upbringing. Furthermore, a parent cannot and should consent to the imposition of corporal punishment at a day care center since it is against the law. Toddlers and small children should learn by instruction and restrictions that DO NOT involve physical harm, pinching, punching, withholding of food, false imprisonment, or other acts that are neglectful and / or malicious in manner. Because of this, it is important that Florida day care centers are staffed with trained and caring individuals who have the personality, patience, and maturity to deal with the stresses and demands of the job. Certainly, it is challenging to be a day care center worker or child care provider. When the stress intensifies, the day care worker / child care worker should step back and assess or reassess his or her current actions, his or next actions, and the rest of the day.
During the holiday season and all other times of year, it is important for parents, schools, and day care centers to be aware of the dangers that some toys cause to children. If a child is injured by the use, play, or contact with a toy, the owner of the home, day care center, or school may be held liable if there was an issue with the supervision of the child, if the toy at issue was known to be dangerous, or if the toy was inappropriate for the age and maturity of the child.
Federal safety standards are put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of injuries to children from toys. Even with these standards in place, it is estimated that every three minutes a child is injured by a toy and makes a trip to the emergency room. This equates to approximately 250,000 children going to the emergency room in 2013 alone. In addition, the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission estimated roughly nine children died in 2013 from toy related injuries.
With internet shopping becoming more prevalent, more and more parents are purchasing toys online. A problem with online shopping is that parents are unable to physically view the toys for safety issues and are often unable to read all of the warnings printed on the package. Without the ability to physically see the toy to locate unknown dangers or to read all warnings, parents may be purchasing toys that are not fit for the age and maturity of their child. A lack of knowledge regarding the safety of a toy can lead to serious injuries to children.
Day care centers have a duty to provide supervision to the children enrolled in the program. As part of this supervision, child care providers should make sure that all exits and areas are secure and that no children wander away from the facility. It is well known that children are curious and lack good safety awareness. As such, at times, a child will wander away from the facility. This, in turn, may lead to serious personal injuries or even the death of the child. This raises the issue as to whether the day care center is liable when a child wanders away from the facility. From a practical standpoint, it may be difficult to pursue a civil case or claim when there was no physical harm caused to the child during the wandering away incident or event.
In Florida and other states, the heat during the summer months as well as other times of the year present a constant danger to children being transported by day care centers, summer camp, schools, parents, relatives, and friends. It is vital that children are removed from a vehicle when the destination is reached. A quick run in to the dry cleaners, school, convenience store, and other locations can result in serious personal injuries and even death to a child left behind. For this article, the focus is heat related complications and illnesses; however, a child, who is left alone, in a vehicle can choke on small object, get his or her head caught in a power windows, become entangled or even strangulated by a seat belt, mobile phone wire, or other object, and otherwise get injured or harmed in other ways. It is important that all hazards are removed form the vehicle and that a child is never – ever left unattended in a vehicle. The safety of the child should always take priority over the convenience of the driver or adult supervisors. In this day and age, we just have too many distractions in place that take our attention away from what is the most important job at hand – the proper supervision of children. Here are some tips to keep in mind and use when transporting children. Following these and other safety measures can save a child from the harm or injury associated with heat exposure.