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 If children have been recently injured on the playground or if equipment seems outdated or has sharp edges, you have cause for concern.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.