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Daycare Injuries and Neglect: Warning Signs and Legal Actions to Take

Daycare Injuries and Neglect: Warning Signs and Legal Actions to Take


We’ve all heard instances of children being harmed in daycare settings across Michigan. You may remember the incident when one child in a Garden City daycare facility shoved another youngster into a clothes dryer and turned it on, fortunately causing only minor injuries. Or perhaps you’ll recall the metro Detroit toddler who was reported to have suffered traumatic brain damage after he was thrown to the floor by his daycare teacher. Then, in what could have become an even more tragic incident, a family-run daycare business in suburban Grand Rapids was closed last spring after the unhinged husband aimed a loaded shotgun at his wife while she was holding an infant child who was in her care.

But those kinds of terrifying incidents are just the tip of a potentially enormous iceberg of childcare negligence and abuse cases, giving justifiable pause to concerned parents who worry their children may be mistreated – or perhaps criminally ignored – in daycare settings throughout Michigan. Since very small children are often unable to report injuries or maltreatment, they might be suffering in silence. So some obvious symptoms of abuse parents should watch out for include unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns. Experts also note that changes in a child’s usual behavior, such as increased bedwetting, rejecting normal affection, or forcibly attempting to remain in the car when arriving at daycare, could also be clues that something might not be quite right with your child’s caregivers. And remember that physical pain or noticeable injuries aren’t the only harmful experiences that can happen to a child in daycare. Negligence can extend to children being exposed to less serious (but still dangerous) situations including inadequate supervision, improper or insufficient staff training, and experiencing unsafe or unsanitary conditions inside daycare buildings or in outdoor play areas.


How Michigan Law Protects Children in Daycare Settings

Fortunately, the Michigan legislature has taken steps to safeguard all of our children by enacting laws specifically designed to regulate daycare businessesto protect kids from child abuse or neglect, and to prevent potential child sexual predators from being employed in daycare settings. Employees (and even volunteers or other adult residents of homes where child care is provided) at licensed Michigan daycare facilities must undergo mandatory FBI fingerprinting and other forms of criminal record verification as required by the state’s Child Care Background Check Program. Furthermore, daycare operators whose facilities are involved in deaths, injuries, fires, accidents or other incidents are legally required to report them to state licensing officials using this official document which provides essential details to investigating authorities.

Beyond that, state-licensed daycare providers are required to undergo annual health and safety inspections. In addition, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation publishes a 32-page guidebook which encapsulates the many strict rules currently in place governing family and group child care homes. Among the ironclad requirements spelled out in this document are training mandates for daycare staff covering the proper administration of medications; prevention of and responses to food and other allergic reaction emergencies; proper handling and storage of hazardous materials; necessary precautions when transporting kids; building and premises safety and security; and even emergency preparedness rules.

By the way, as the Michigan Afterschool Partnership notes, all daycare facilities – even those that provide care for just one child under age 12 – must be licensed to operate in the state of Michigan.With these numerous safeguards in place, hopefully the chances of your child being injured in a daycare setting, or harmed by a daycare employee, are minimized. However, if you ever become concerned about the background of staff members at your child’s daycare facility, you can always check the Michigan State Police sex offender registry to be sure that known predators are not employed there or living/working nearby in the neighborhood in which they’re located.


How to Report a Daycare Operator for Suspected Injuries or Negligence

Needless to say, if your child is ever injured, or you suspect your daycare provider has been negligent in their duties to provide a safe environment for your kids, there are some steps you should take immediately. Of course, in any emergency you should never hesitate to call law enforcement immediately at 911. Otherwise, officials working for Michigan Child Protective Services can be reached directly at 855-444-3911. You can also register a complaint day or night using the state’s online reporting system. And, once any immediate danger has passed, a dedicated Mike Morse personal injury attorney well versed in daycare law will become your trusted advocate in the legal system to be sure your child’s rights are protected.


Doesn’t the Daycare Provider’s Liability Insurance Protect Children?

While it might provide a degree of reassurance to know that your child’s daycare provider is licensed and insured, liability coverage for businesses such as daycare operations is intended to safeguard the firm – not necessarily your children. One reputable company, The Hartford, which offers this type of business-related insurance coverage, tells its clients that liability policies are intended to “help cover claims alleging that your business caused bodily injury or property damage to someone else or their belongings.”

Unfortunately, some sketchy insurers will often do their utmost to limit such claims or to avoid paying injured parties altogether. Which is why engaging a respected personal injury attorney who’s familiar with insurance company tactics is essential in such situations, especially when you wish to protect your child’s best interests.


How to Find a Licensed Daycare Provider in Michigan

To be sure you’re protected by beneficial state laws that regulate the daycare industry, you will want to be 100 percent certain the provider you’ve chosen is fully licensed. The always-helpful Office of Human Resources at the University of Michigan provides links to statewide directories of licensed child care providers. In addition, you can find recent inspection and special investigation reports on daycare facilities on the state’s official Child Care Hub. There are also websites such as Great Start to QualityMetro Detroit Mommy and others that provide local reviews and information about the many kinds of places that provide child care services, including summer camps, daycare operators, preschools, and more.


If You Need Help with a Daycare-Related Injury, Call Us Right Away

We truly hope you’ll never find yourself in a circumstance where you need a personal injury attorney to help you deal with an injury to your child caused by a daycare mishap or childcare negligence. But if you do, know that we’ll be on your side instantly, working to protect your child’s rights in the most effective way possible. To get in touch with us, call 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946) or contact us online. We’re here for you and your kids 24/7/365 – just like we’d want someone to be there for ours.

Daycare Injuries and Neglect: Warning Signs and Legal Actions to Take

Content checked by Mike Morse, personal injury attorney with Mike Morse Injury Law Firm. Mike Morse is the founder of Mike Morse Law Firm, the largest personal injury law firm in Michigan. Since being founded in 1995, Mike Morse Law Firm has grown to 150 employees, served 25,000 clients, and collected more than $1 billion for victims of auto, truck and motorcycle accidents. The main office is in Southfield, MI but you can also find us in Detroit, Sterling Heights and many other locations.