If a child suffers harm in a daycare setting, employees and facilities can be held legally liable for injuries. Failing to provide a reasonable level of care can result in a lawsuit for child neglect and abuse.
Child Daycare Abuse and Neglect
With so many single parents and dual-income households, families rely on safe daycare facilities for their children. Unfortunately, thousands of children experience physical injuries and emotional trauma at the hands of their caretakers every year. Child abuse, neglect, and molestation are a harsh reality for many children who are placed in the care of strangers.
Toddlers and infants placed in a daycare setting are especially at risk for child abuse and neglect by their caretakers because they lack communication skills. Parents with small children must be vigilant in observing the warning signs of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and neglect. Common warning signs include:
- Physical Injuries – Cuts, scratches, and bruises on the body, and bumps on the head may be signs of slapping, hitting, punching, or kicking. Red marks and bruises on the buttocks may signal harsh spankings, while bruises around the genitals may signal sexual abuse.
- Changes in Behavior – Shyness, withdrawal, anxiety, and depression are often signs of abuse or neglect. Unusual aggression such as screaming, biting, scratching, hitting, and kicking are often seen in small children who experience physical injuries and/or emotional abuse.
- Regression – Sudden bed wetting, thumb sucking, extreme clinginess, excessive crying, and fear of the dark are often indicators of verbal and sexual abuse. Abused children may cry, scream, and pitch temper tantrums when they are dropped off at daycare.
- Sexual Aggression – Abnormal knowledge of sex and sexual aggression toward other children may signal sexual abuse or molestation by a daycare worker. Aggressive behavior is often a way for sexually abused children to vent their pain and anger.
- Changes in Appearance – Unsanitary conditions such as soiled clothing, disheveled appearance, diaper rashes, and soiled diapers can be a red flag for child neglect, especially for toddlers and infants who are potty training or still in diapers.
Infants placed in daycare are especially vulnerable to shaken baby syndrome (SBS), a form of child abuse that can lead to permanent brain damage or death. Warning signs of SBS include constant crying; vomiting; loss of appetite; lethargy; rigid limbs; glassy eyes; and seizures. If SBS if suspected, parents should seek immediate medical attention.