As a parent of a toddler in New Jersey, you are likely in the same boat as many other parents who have to work to provide for all their children’s needs. If you are not fortunate enough to have other family members who can care for your child while you are at work, the only other option might be day care. However, finding a facility at which your child will receive loving care and education in a safe and healthy environment can be a challenge.
Unsafe conditions at day care can lead to serious injuries, particularly if the facility is in a home. Many household items can be hazardous, and children must have constant supervision. Nobody wants even to consider the possibility of injuries that might lead to a day care liability lawsuit.
Look out for red flags
Some things may indicate that a particular day care facility is not up to standard. Unfortunately, some of these red flags may only become evident after you have enrolled your child there. However, you may want to be vigilant and look out for any of the following:
- Is the day care licensed? The facility must have a license from the New Jersey authorities to ensure proper care. However, there is an even higher standard at day care centers accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. These child care facilities have to uphold high standards with minimum requirements set to ensure a nurturing, safe and healthy environment.
- Is there a high turnover of employees? Your child may bond with staff members, and inconsistency of ever-changing faces may cause insecurity.
- Are others praising or complaining? By talking to other parents and searching online, you might pick up on any concerns about the facility.
- What is the staff-child ratio? The state sets a staff-child ratio to ensure that each child gets the necessary attention. Too many children per teacher create safety issues.
- Is the staff qualified? The law entitles you to request information about the qualifications of all the staff members. Everyone should have the mandated training for teaching small children, along with current certification in first aid and CPR. You can also ask confirmation of criminal background checks on every employee of the facility.
- Is there a curriculum in place? An age-appropriate curriculum must be in place and posted for all parents to see.
- How clean is the day care? Dealing with a bunch of children can create a mess, but if you notice yesterday’s dirt today, it is not a good sign.
- Are there safety concerns? You must feel confident that the toys and playground equipment are safe, and that smoke detectors are working. Are poisons appropriately stored, and is there an evacuation or disaster plan?
- What is the attitude? Staff with unhappy attitudes and unsmiling faces may not be the appropriate caretakers for your child.
- How do they communicate with you? You should receive frequent reports about your child without having to ask for them. Find out how the day care will stay in touch with you and whether it has an updated website.
Trust your instincts
As a parent, you will likely get a bad feeling if the day care facility is not the right choice for your child. Trust that intuition and find another. However, in the unfortunate event of an incident in which negligent care causes harm to your child, you can consult with an attorney who has experience in dealing with day care liability cases in New Jersey.