An increase in the number of families with both parents working at jobs outside the home has increased the need for daycare and childcare in Ontario as it has throughout Canada. According to Statistics Canada, almost half of all parents in the country make use of some form of childcare for children 14 years of age and younger with parents of children ages 4 and younger reporting making use of some form of childcare for their children. Daycare centres are the most commonly used form of childcare for parents in Ontario.
As a parent, you trust that the staff and administers of the daycare centre will keep your child safe and free from harm. Sadly, this is not always the case, and children can suffer serious injuries or die due to accidents or negligent care. The law allows you to hold daycare facilities responsible when their negligence causes harm to your child.
Recognizing when something is wrong
It is common for children to suffer minor bumps, bruises or lacerations during the normal course of playing with other children. Parents should note the frequency of cuts and bruises and question daycare staff about them to determine if their child is the victim of inadequate supervision or intentional abuse.
Accidents at daycare centres could be caused by a failure of staff to remove hazardous items and substances that could pose a danger to a child. Falls are a frequent cause of children’s injuries, but falls from playground equipment, furniture or elevated surfaces could be the result of a failure on the part of daycare stall to properly supervise and monitor the activities of the children.
What should a parent do when a child is injured?
A child injured at daycare should receive immediate evaluation and treatment by a health care professional. Once the child’s medical condition has been stabilized, parents must contact the daycare facility to find out exactly what happened. At that point, parents should seek an evaluation of the facts and circumstances from an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine if making a claim against the facility is an option.
Daycare facilities owe a duty to provide such a reasonable level of care as necessary to prevent harm to your child. Negligence occurs when the facility breaches its duty of care by failing to provide adequate supervision to your child, allowing playground equipment to become unsafe, or engages in other conduct that places your child at risk of being injured. If the breach of the daycare centre’s duty of care result in an injury, your child could be entitled to make a claim damages related to the injury.
Protecting children from harm
Parents choosing a daycare facility should make certain it complies with the Ontario Child Care and Early Years Act. Among other things, the law establishes minimum standards for the supervision of children, including the ratio of staff to the number of children under their supervision.