Daycare Negligence – 6 Quick Points for Parents
4 Minute Read from Daycare Injury Lawyers Serving Ontario. We fight for you.
When parents leave their children with a daycare provider, they place a lot of trust that their children will be safe and cared for. Unfortunately, accidents happen, even in the best care environments. There have been many cases in Ontario where children have not been properly cared for, resulting in accident, injury and unfortunately, many reported cases of death by violence, falls, undernourishment and drownings. Our Hamilton personal injury lawyers we strive to ensure parents are informed and educated in the event of the unthinkable: childhood accident, illness or death. If your child is in daycare it is important to have an understanding about day care regulations to ensure your child is receiving the proper and standard of care.
1. How the Death of Eva Ravikovic Changed Child Care in Ontario
As a parent, when you entrust a care provider to look after your child, your hope is that your child is thriving in a safe and loving environment. You don’t ever want to think about the unthinkable happening. In Ontario, there have been several incidents where children have been harmed, injured or have even died while in childcare.
One of Ontario’s most cited cases is of Eva Ravikovic , a 22-month old girl who died in 2013 while in the care of an unlicensed care provider. Eva’s death spurred the province to make changes to childcare regulations which resulted in the Child Care and Early Years Act.
Eva’s story of being left in a car and forgotten for the entire day is every parent’s worst nightmare. The unlicensed child care provider was caring for 35 children in her home on the day of Eva’s death. Home daycares are limited to five kids.
2. Unlicensed vs Licensed Care Centers – What Are the Differences in Standard of Care and Safety?
When it comes to childcare in Ontario, there is a mix of licensed and unlicensed options for parents to choose from. Daycare centres and child care homes and facilities in Ontario are governed by the Child Care and Early Years Act, which came into effect in 2015. Safety of the children is paramount. First aid requirements, adult to child ratios, healthy food and even the requirement for incident reports are all outlined in the Act.
3. Ontario Regulations for Licensed Facilities
Licensed childcare facilities are subject to strict requirements including mandatory adult to child ratios, provide a learning statement that is in line with Ontario’s How Does Learning Happen policy under the Ministry of Education. In addition, all staff at licensed facilities (whether in a licensed home or centre) including any students or volunteers, must pass a criminal reference check. Licensed child care centers are subject to an annual review by the Ministry of Education.
4. Ontario Regulations for Unlicensed Facilities
While unlicensed facilities are not subject to the same annual review as a licensed day care centre, they do have rules in place designed to keep children safe and well-cared for.
An unlicensed childcare provider operating out of a private home may not have more than five children in their care, including the person’s own children age 12 and under. In addition, there can be no more than two children under the age of two, including the person’s own children. Parents must be allowed free access to their child and the property, though some exceptions when it comes to custody agreements or criminal-related activities do apply. Plus, parents must be provided with receipts.
For both licensed and unlicensed facilities, there are strict penalties, fines and even convictions for people who fail to comply with the Act. There are additional childcare options available in Ontario that do not fall under the Child Care and Early Years Act. These include private schools, camps that enroll school-aged children, skill-based and academic programs, babysitter and nannies.
5. Expected Standard of Care in Daycare Facilities
A daycare might fall below the appropriate standard of care if there is a lack of supervision or lack of proactive. There is no doubt that certain accidents will happen are unintentional, however, many accidents are considered non-intentional and preventative.
Preventable injuries occur in day-care environments when accidents or death is no doubt foreseeable on the part of the child caregiver which could occur if there is inadequate supervision, too many kids children, the lack of child security in a private home or daycare, exposure to animals, chemicals or any type of negligence that can result in suffocation, choking, drowning or burns.
6. Signs of Daycare Child Neglect & Abuse
Eva Ravikovic was being cared for in an unlicensed and over-crowded home facility, which had already received warnings from the Ministry. If you have your child in care, you should pay special attention to cleanliness, conditions of the home and the number of kids being cared for.
While older children may be able to verbalize what is happening in the home or care centre they are attending, young children cannot. Regardless, it is important for parents to be aware of the signs of child neglect and abuse, including:
- Unexplained injuries such as cuts, bruises and burns
- Children are constantly hungry when they get home
- Consistent uncleanliness
- Failure to thrive, weight loss or not reaching developmental milestones
- Behavioural changes including nervousness, anxiousness and becoming withdrawn
- Unkempt appearance or inadequate clothing for the weather
Has your child suffered injuries, or worse – his or her life? We will fight for the Justice your Family Deserves.
If you suspect any negligence you will want to talk to a personal injury lawyer. If your child has been hurt, injured or has died at daycare, our caring and compassionate lawyers are here to help. We encourage any inquiries and we will discuss your legal options thoroughly. Our consultations are always free of charge, confidential and without obligation. To schedule a free consultation with a Hamilton personal injury or wrongful death lawyer please call us at 905-333-8888, fill in a free contact form or chat with out live operator, who will help set up an appointment with your family.