Day care centers should be safe havens for children. Children, especially toddlers and infants, are curious. However, they lack safety awareness and the ability at times to voice or signal distress. It is vital that day care centers remove all hazards away from toddlers and infants. This includes hazards or risks associated with choking. For instance, a simple cup of coins within reach of a toddler or infant can have disastrous results if the child put a coin in his or her mouth. Day care center employees should survey all areas of play, instruction, and sleep. Anything that may present itself as a choking hazard should be removed from the area and be kept outside of the reach and exploration of the children.
The Center for Disease Control lists choking as the fourth leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of five. This is because young children can choke on anything smaller than a D-size battery, which includes food, toys, and miscellaneous household objects. Because of the high risk possessed by choking and choking hazards, day care centers need to take many precautions to ensure the safety of their students, especially toddlers and infants. First, children during breakfast, lunch or snack time should never be left unattended, and the person watching them should encourage thorough chewing and cut up pieces they feel might be too large. Additionally, child care professionals should keep small objects out of reach, as curious children tend to put new things in their mouths; this also means that toys for small children and older kids should be kept in separate places, and toys for the younger children should exclude small or breakable parts. Day care workers should always keep an eye on small children and make sure they aren’t trying to swallow foreign objects. Day care workers are also required to learn CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver in the event of an emergency.
However, if these precautions are not taken, tragedy might strike, like earlier this year, when a 10-month old child choked to death on a pine cone at a North Carolina day care center. In order to prevent a similar misfortune to happen to their child, parents should research a day care center before sending a child there, to make sure that there have not been any problems in the past. A day care should ease a parent’s worries about a child, not make them worse.
Attorney David Wolf is a child injury attorney and a child safety advocate based in Jacksonville, Florida. He handles child injury and personal injury cases throughout the State of Florida. He is the author of 12 books including the book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know. David Wolf provides a Free Consultation on all child injury and personal injury cases.