In the State of Florida, it is a crime to leave a child unattended in a vehicle that is turned off. Pursuant to Section 316.6135, Florida Statutes, it is a misdemeanor to leave a child unattended in a vehicle for more than 15 minutes. It is a felony if the child suffers significant bodily harm, permanent injury, or disfigurement as a result of being left unattended in the vehicle. It is also a misdemeanor leaving a child unattended in a vehicle that is still running if the health of the child is put at risk OR the child appears to be in distress.
The statute as it currently reads is a bit troublesome in that a child can suffer serious personal injuries or even death by being left in a hot car or day care center van in less than 15 minutes. Some lawmakers in the State of Florida are pushing for changes to this legislation / Florida law to better protect children and to serve as a reminder to parents, guardians, caregivers, and day care centers to stop putting children at risk by leaving children in a vehicle.
David Wolf – Personal Injury Attorney – is based in Jacksonville, Florida and handles child injury, automobile accident, day care center, and related cases throughout the State of Florida. He is the author of 11 books including the book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know and the book titled Florida Day Care Center Injuries – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – Building Blocks of Knowledge for Parents. You can get these books for free by visiting the Personal Injury Book Section of the Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. Law Firm Website.
In the summer throughout the United States, there is a common risk in just about every neighborhood – the risk of drowning. It is important that all child care providers including babysitters, day care centers, child care centers, schools, and summer camps have a plan in place for the proper supervision of children any time that there is a swimming pool accessible to the child and anytime that there are aquatic or boating related activities.
David Wolf is a personal injury attorney based in Jacksonville, Florida who handles child injury cases throughout the State of Florida. David Wolf is an attorney, author, and advocate for the safety of children. It is important that the safety of a child be a top of the mind priority for a child care provider any time a child is near a swimming pool or some how may gain access to a swimming pool. David Wolf is the author of 11 books including the book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child. This book covers a variety of topics including the following: Swimming Pools, Water Parks and Other Bodies of Water, Sports and Recreational Injuries, Automobile Accidents, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
Drowning is more common than we would like to admit, in fact, for children between the ages of one and fourteen it is the second leading cause of death. Because of the increased risk these children face, it is important for parents, neighbors, friends, relatives, schools, summer camps, day care centers and all others in charge of supervising a child in or near a swimming pool or other water way to keep the certain tips and concepts in mind.
In the State of Florida, parent rely on day care centers to properly care for and supervise their children during time periods in which there are work and personal commitments that require the use of a day care center. It can be quite disheartening to a parent to work a full day only to pick up a child at a day care center who has been injured, battered, abused, neglected, and / or harmed. It should be noted that a day care center is not an absolute insurer for the safety of a child. In other words, a day care center is not automatically liable for damages every single time that a child is injured at a day care center. In order to establish liability or responsibility on behalf of the day care center, four elements must be established to form the basis of a claim or case against the day care center as follows:
Breach of Duty;
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.