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When Is a Daycare Facility Liable for Negligence?

When you take your child to a daycare facility, you trust that the owners and employees will use a reasonable standard of care while entrusted to the safety and well-being of your child. What does this mean, though? In what types of situations will a daycare or childcare facility be liable for injuries suffered by a child in their care?

The Negligence Standard

Under the common law of negligence, the owners and employees of a daycare facility have a duty to use reasonable care while watching your child. This means that they must act as a reasonably prudent person would, given the same circumstances. There are, however, no hard and fast rules about what constitutes negligence. That is typically determined by a jury on a case-by-case basis. Typically, though, claims for negligence fall under certain categories:
  • Failure to properly supervise—A daycare center generally cannot simply leave children to their own devices. They must provide reasonable supervision, so that children do not get into things that may cause themselves or others injury. For example, if there are racquets or baseball bats, or other types of toys that may be used to strike another child, daycare centers typically must provide a level of supervision that minimizes the risk that one child will strike another with such an object.
  • Failure to monitor for illness or injury—Daycare centers are not medical facilities, but they should take reasonable steps to monitor children for injury or illness.
  • Improper security—This includes inadequate measures for keeping children in, or keeping unwanted individuals out. It can also involve failure to take appropriate steps to limit access by children to dangerous objects, such as cleaning agents, chemicals, knives or kitchen appliances, or tools.
  • Negligent hiring or training—Frequently, daycare centers will employ individuals with inadequate skills, or who may have a history of neglect or child abuse. In addition, daycare facilities may be responsible for failing to properly train their workers.

Contact Us

At Metzger & Kleiner, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To schedule an appointment with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 215-622-2210 in Philadelphia, 610-563-2186 in the Lehigh Valley, or toll free at 800-228-1760. We take all daycare accident injury claims on a contingency basis. We won't charge attorney fees unless we recover compensation for your losses.

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