Four Signs of Child Care Negligence in Pennsylvania
Ryan Zavodnick | February 14, 2020 | Personal Injury
At some point in your child’s life, they will need to be in the care of someone else. It may be that both parents work full time or that you are a single parent who needs weekly care for your child. Many daycare centers also offer part-time care or parent’s day out programs that are offered for only a few hours or a few days a week.
Regardless of why your child needs care, as a parent, you have a right to expect competent care when your child attends a daycare facility or nursery. The most important types of care are the safety and supervision of your child. At a minimum, childcare centers need to provide a secure and protected environment that is free from any negligence.
Negligence is not only physical abuse. It can also be things like neglect, unsafe conditions, mistreatment, carelessness, and disregard for state and federal laws. There are a few signs that may indicate childcare negligence. If you notice any of these signs, you may want to discuss with the center director or find a different care program for your child.
1) Your Child has Many Accidents
It is common for a child to get a minor injury while at daycare. However, it is not common for a child to have repeated injuries. Most care centers have policies that they must inform the parent of any injury. In Pennsylvania, state-certified centers are required by law to report serious injuries or fatalities. While they do not have to report all injuries, it is not a good sign if your childcare center cannot explain how your child got an injury if you ask them.
There may be an issue with the care of your child if they constantly come home with bruises, scratches, or cuts. There may also be an issue if your child comes home dirty with unwashed hands. If the child is still wearing a diaper, the center should be regularly changing them. If you frequently pick up your child in a soiled diaper or they get diaper rash frequently, these may be signs of mistreatment at the center.
2) They Don’t Seem to Have Enough Child Care Providers
The state regulates the ratio of teacher to child. This can vary by age of the child and type of program. In childcare centers in Pennsylvania, babies age six weeks to nine months have a ratio of 4:1. This means that one teacher can only care for four babies at this age range at a time. If there are more than 4 babies in the class, the center is required by law to have more than one childcare provider in the room with the children at all times.
Childcare centers are regulated by both state and federal laws. That includes wage and hour laws. If you leave your child at the center at 8 am and pick them up at 6 pm, it isn’t uncommon that you will see different teachers in the classroom. However, the individual isn’t what is important. The number of care providers is what matters. Look for child-to-teacher ratio signs posted in the classrooms. This is a good sign that the center is in compliance with the laws.
3) You Notice Unsafe Conditions
Look at both the classroom and any other areas your child may go during their day. Make sure that unsafe materials like cleaning supplies or art materials are out of reach of the children. Also, check to see if large pieces of furniture are secured to the wall. Furniture tipping over can create severe and debilitating injuries to small children.
It is a good sign if the childcare center has an outdoor area. You want your child to be able to run and play outside. However, the playground area needs to be well-maintained by the center. Look for rust or things that are falling apart. Make sure that the area is fenced in and that it isn’t possible for a child to get out of the designated area by themselves.
4) Listen to Your Child
While a young child’s memory may be unreliable and they may be very imaginative, it is still important to listen and trust your child. If they repeatedly tell you that a teacher is mean or hurts them, it is best to listen and bring it up to the staff. Also, if your child is constantly hungry or thirsty after daycare, it is possible that they are not getting enough nourishment while at the center.
It is also important to notice your child’s non-verbal behaviors. There may be an issue at school if your child was once outgoing but is now withdrawn. This could be a result of being bullied or verbal abuse at the daycare center.