Are There Safety Concerns at Your Child’s Daycare Center?

When you drop your child off at a daycare center in the morning, it is with the utmost trust in a team of other people. We expect them to feed, teach, supervise, and keep our children safe; in fact, they become the replacement for the parent during the day and sometimes early into the evenings, five days a week.

It’s a challenging job, but most individuals who work in daycare centers do so because they feel the same sense of accomplishment and satisfaction parents do in watching children grow and develop emotionally, socially, and intellectually. While in daycare before reaching kindergarten, your children may learn to become independent in many ways, along with beginning to learn how to read and write basic words.

For most parents, the goal is to drop their children off happily in the morning—and then pick them up that way too, with a good report—and a good feeling about where they are spending their day. And no matter how well the initial interview may have gone when you chose your daycare, issues may pop up later. As soon as you notice something that seems slightly ‘off,’ it’s important to investigate further—and especially if it is a safety issue. Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • The facility seems to be going downhill in terms of cleanliness. Watch to see if workers are washing their hands before handling food and after such activities like changing diapers. Do the play areas seem to be clean, along with areas where children are eating their meals?
  • The playground should seem fun and entertaining but without hazards. If children have been recently injured on the playground or if equipment seems outdated or has sharp edges, you have cause for concern. Children should not be falling from playground equipment onto rough surfaces.
  • Younger children are allowed to play with toys not appropriate for their age group, including small pieces that could be choking hazards.
  • There don’t seem to be enough teachers or workers for each group of children. Children should have constant supervision, as well as easy access to an adult should they need help. State issued guidelines apply, and you can read more about the laws for Florida childcare facilities here.
  • Security is not tight in one or more entrances. It should not be particularly easy to walk in and get your child at the end of the day; in fact, security should be maintained on a constant basis and sometimes even to the point where you feel inconvenienced in trying to get in as strict measures are taken. Staff should be immediately alerted by sound when doors open if they are not already kept locked.
  • A staff that does not seem well-trained. This is of concern should an emergency occur and staff should have to perform CPR or enforce lockdown procedures. Also, ask about the first-aid supplies on hand.
  • Lack of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and/or a lack of child safety covers and latches for electrical outlets, cabinets, and any other areas should be noted.

 

While you may be noticing that some things just don’t seem right, also consider what your child is telling you. Does turnover seem to be unusually high at the facility your child is attending? Is communication lacking from the teachers and administrators at the daycare? Are you worried about abuse or neglect at the daycare center? It’s important to keep your eyes open, but also be aware of the laws. You may not be comfortable with the current setting, but it’s entirely possible that the daycare is operating within the required standards.

If your child has been hurt at a daycare center, contact Heintz & Becker now. Our attorneys represent those who have been injured in daycare facilities in Bradenton, Sarasota, and nearby areas in Florida. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Don’t Allow Your Swimming Pool to be a Liability

From the time our children are born, most of us begin worrying about every possible hazard, and in Florida many such issues are centered around water. It can be exhausting trying to make sure that kids stay safe in the sun and the surf—and even more so when they are poolside. Swimming pools are wonderful for relaxing, exercising, and family fun. But this is often an area where children are prone to running and slipping, falling in, and sometimes even entering the water when they do not have permission. As summer approaches, here are some tips to make sure everyone stays safe, while also offering you greater peace of mind regarding your home swimming pool:

  • As Florida law requires, make sure you have one of the required safety options for your pool at home. The most popular safety option seems to be the barrier, generally in the form of a fence. It must be at least 48” high, without any gaps or areas would allow children or others to gain entry. Be aware that this barrier should allow enough space so that if someone were to climb over it they would not fall directly into the pool. Other options include having a pool cover, alarm, or self-latching devices on doors that lead out to your pool.
  • Your pool should be updated and equipped with a special drain cover that eliminates the chance for entrapment (due to suction). Older drains without covers can be very dangerous as both children’s or adult’s hair can easily be caught, making it hard for them to get back to the surface. Drain covers should eliminate the chance for drowning, but make sure you also know how to turn it off (whether in your pool or a hot tub) quickly in case of a problem.
  • When children are swimming, there should always be supervision. Accidents are the number one reason for loss of life in children in the US, with drowning high on the list. Although kids may be good swimmers, supervision is necessary as there are so many reasons they could become distressed or even incapacitated in the home swimming pool—whether due to falling in, head injury, exhaustion, rough play that makes it hard for them to surface, and more.
  • Avoid the use of alcohol around the pool. Judgment may become impaired and reflexes are slower when individuals are under the influence. Your liability is also greatly increased once alcohol enters the picture—and exponentially so with a group of people in or around the water.
  • Make sure your homeowner’s insurance is in force and that you feel comfortable with the coverage you currently have for accidents; if you are unsure, call and speak with your insurance agent as soon as possible.
  • Always have at least one safety flotation device at the poolside. Make it clear to kids, however, that these are not toys. They are serious lifesaving devices and should always be nearby in case of emergency.

While you may be extremely careful about safety at your home swimming people, remember to exercise caution at other pools too, including those that are public and may sometimes be crowded with swimmers of all ages. Swimming pool accidents can have serious long-term consequences such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and much more.

If you or your child have been injured in a swimming pool accident, the attorneys at Heintz & Becker can help. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after a swimming pool injury. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Should the Police Always Be Called After an Accident?

Even if you have been fortunate enough to have avoided a car accident so far, you probably know someone who has been injured and are aware of how devastating such an experience can be. Most of us wear our seatbelts, drive the speed limit, and follow traffic rules; still though, thousands are injured each day on our roads nationwide.

You may drive so much that often you feel as if you are on auto-pilot, traveling the same roads and waiting at the same lights each day, going to and from work and running typical errands. You may also be experiencing the same distractions that many drivers are, from rushing to eat your lunch in the car while driving to hearing the phone ring or texts bleep in. It’s easy to think we can handle other tasks when we should be driving, but the wake-up call unfortunately often comes in the form of an accident.

While car accidents are one of the main causes for injury and death in the US, mild fender benders abound on the roads as well—something you probably witness nearly every day if you are driving in a city, with even the smallest car accidents often tying up traffic while cars block the road and other motorists slow down to have a look. There are also many small accidents that occur in parking lots as vehicles are backing out, often at the same time. If you happen to be one of those cars involved, it’s important to know what steps to take and to understand when you should call law enforcement to the scene. We also ask that you take time now to both download and familiarize yourself with the Heintz & Becker Injury Help mobile app—now available now on both iTunes and at the Google Play Store.

After any accident take a few moments to breathe and regain your calm. Next, make sure that neither you nor any passengers are injured. If not, step out and make sure the other driver does not need medical help either. Once you’ve established everyone is okay, it’s time to look at both cars and see whether there is any damage. If possible, both cars should also be moved out of the way of traffic, with the hazard lights turned on.

In Florida, the law states that if there appears to damage over $500, the accident must be reported. If that’s the case, you must call the police to the scene and begin exchanging contact information. If there is absolutely no damage and both parties feel confident they have sustained no injuries, there may not be any reason to file a report, and you may feel certain you would be wasting everybody’s time in calling the police out to the scene. That is understandable, but keep in mind that there could now be an underlying car issue that may not show up for a few days—or a physical injury that does not become apparent until later. This could happen on your end or the other party’s end, adding great complication later.

If you have concerns, it is better to save yourself any headaches later by calling the police, having a report filed, and making note of all the driver’s other information as well as where the accident happened and any other pertinent details, along with the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.

If you or a loved one have sustained injuries due to a car accident, please contact Heintz & Becker now so one of our experienced attorneys can review your case and help you with any legal needs and getting compensation that you may be owed from your insurance company. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

How to Help Younger Drivers Establish Good Habits Now

Once upon a time, we all had to learn how to drive. Whether you learned from your parents, a driver’s education course, or a combination of both, it all led to one goal: passing that driver’s licensing exam. This is easier for some new drivers as they intuitively seem to understand how to operate a car and may have already had experience in caring for one as well. Other young drivers may be on a steeper learning curve, experiencing anxiety over exercises like parallel parking, merging onto the highway, and driving in heavy traffic.

Passing that written test and then the actual driving test are an enormous milestone—but for most of us, true learning begins after we get behind the wheel in real life. And while teenagers may experience all sorts of anxiety while learning to drive, parents are usually experiencing a wide range of emotions too as they watch their children gain true independence. This is a time where we usually feel proud yet worried—along with being relieved that we are no longer the family taxi service!

Being able to drive delivers new freedom for both the parent and the child, but in their first few months and years on the road, you will most likely continue to guide them, along with remembering and learning some things yourself. Following are some great tips to give to new drivers:

  • Always wear your seatbelt, and insist that passengers do so too. According to the CDC, you reduce your risk of death or injury in a car accident by half just by buckling up.
  • Make sure that you are comfortable in the car with the headrests and seats in the proper position, along with the side and rear-view mirrors.
  • Don’t feel pressured to hurry when driving; for example, if you don’t feel comfortable turning left on a busy road, just wait, and remember that it’s always easier to go left in busy areas where there is an arrow at a traffic light.
  • Remember to follow the speed limit and stay one car length behind each car per every 10 mph that you are traveling.
  • Always drive defensively, watching out for other motorists. There are far too many drivers on the road today who are distracted. If you see them, give them a wide berth. It’s also important to stay far away from aggressive drivers. Remember too that if you are getting ready to pull out onto the road, motorists coming toward you with their blinkers on may have no intention of turning.
  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings!

It’s also very important to talk to your teen about what to do if they are in an accident, from calling law enforcement to getting the other person’s contact and insurance information, and more. If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, call us now at Heintz & Becker. We handle Florida automobile accidents of all types and will be dedicated to making sure you receive fair compensation from the insurance companies. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

 

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for your enjoyment and informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Motion Induced Blindness May Impair Drivers

Whether you prefer to drive a car or a motorcycle, you may have some traffic frustrations regarding the other. Motorists often become annoyed with motorcycles, sometimes perceiving them as being too loud, going too fast, showing off dangerously, or being troublesome as they weave in and out of traffic (also known as lane splitting). Motorcyclists, on the other hand, often become frustrated by motorists who cut them off, seem to drive aggressively, and in speeding or running red lights or stop signs, often endanger their lives. Distracted drivers or those under the influence, whether in a car or on a motorcycle, also make road travel perilous.

As most motorcyclists are aware, they often just are not seen in traffic. Despite attention being drawn to the issue in recent years, the average person driving a car is typically not used to scanning traffic for motorcyclists. This leaves them open to vulnerability, usually when turns are being made.

Why exactly is it so hard to see motorcyclists? One theory is that motion-induced blindness may be to blame. In the simplest terms think of this like the blind spot you sometimes encounter in your car while driving. MIB is like having a blind spot in your eye, and is an illusion brought on by varying peripheral motions that will cause items—such as a motorcycle in traffic—to disappear. That intense focus you have in looking ahead may be the reason for the MIB; because of that, it may help to remember to shift your focus periodically. This is important while you are driving, as you are not only responsible for seeing people riding on motorcycles, but also other cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

In ‘Motion-Induced Blindness and Troxler Fading: Common and Different Mechanisms,’ a study released in 2014, the authors explained MIB more thoroughly:

“Extended stabilization of gaze leads to disappearance of dim visual targets presented peripherally.  This phenomenon, known as Troxler fading, is thought to result from neuronal adaptation. Intense targets also disappear intermittently when surrounded by a moving pattern (the “mask”), a phenomenon known as motion-induced blindness (MIB).”

We should all be more inclined to see motorcycles in traffic if we remind ourselves routinely to look, training our brains to see them, when previously we may not have. Making a conscious effort to look for motorcycles is especially important if you are making a left turn. Make it a rule to always look twice, checking the roadway in front of your car, behind it, and from both sides. And in all cases, remember to keep a safe distance so that the motorcycle has appropriate time to stop.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a motorcycle or auto accident, please call Heintz & Becker for a free consultation with one of personal injury attorneys. We handle all types of Florida personal injury cases, and our law firm has established an impressive record of verdicts and settlements. If you have been seriously injured, call us now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for your enjoyment and informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

The Road to Zero: Eliminating Accident Fatalities by 2040

If you ask Americans what threatens their safety or health, you’re likely to hear a gamut of impassioned responses. The perception of threat is largely influenced by what people see in the media, and the media hasn’t done a great job of educating people on traffic fatalities, especially compared to other concerns that get more attention and airtime.

Let’s put traffic fatalities in perspective: the probability of winning the Powerball jackpot is 1 in 175,223,510. The lifetime odds of death by lighting are 1 in 161,856, and the odds of being killed by a gun are 1 in 6,905. Continue reading