Be On The Lookout For Risks That Can Injure Very Young Children In Your Care

A family in Austin, Texas, is suing a local day care center, The Goddard School, a private preschool, after their toddler suffered severe burns on his hands while he was in its care.

According to the baby's mother, she received a phone call from the day care, stating that her baby had burned his hands on a door. The door led from the playground outside to the inside of the building.

The mother said, that according to the day care staff, her baby, who had just started walking, "had touched something hot on a door, either a metal door or a metal plate on the door and that he had burnt his finger."

When the mother arrived, however, she said she found her son screaming at the top of his lungs while he held out both his hands which had large yellow blisters already forming.

The mother rushed her son to a pediatrician next door to the day care, who instructed her to bring her baby to a hospital immediately. Upon arrival at the hospital, the physician there called a burn hospital in San Antonio. At the burn hospital, the toddler underwent surgery on his hands.

The baby has undergone several procedures over the past months and will have to wear gloves for up to a year while his hands heal to prevent strictures. His injuries have caused him a lot of pain and have slowed his eating development.

The day care owner states that teachers were to test the doors each time they are outside to make sure they are not too hot. Documents also show that staff members have tried using laminated posters to cover the door outside but they keep falling off. Kris Betts "Austin daycare sued after mom finds severe burns on baby's hands" http://www.wtsp.com/article/news/austin-daycare-sued-after-mom-finds-severe-burns-on-babys-hands/67-526945522 (Mar. 08, 2018).


Commentary and Checklist

The day care facility knew about the hot door; yet took no effective and permanent steps to prevent the kind of injury this toddler suffered.

Installation of an awning or other protective heat device or the installation of a door made of a different material could have been a prudent, safe response.

Other tips that may help protect children from physical injuries include:

  • Provide CPR training for emergencies.
  • Set a minimum number of adults caring safely for a limited group size. Children should always be supervised. Day care staff should always be able to see and hear children in order to respond quickly to protect them.
  • Place infants on their backs to sleep and other safe sleep practices reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Electrical hazards like cords and outlets should be hidden from the children.
  • Very young children should not be able to access bathtubs, swimming pools and other bodies of water, large and small - to prevent drowning.
  • Keep very young children away from ovens, matches, heaters, and other heat sources.
  • Conduct fire drills to prepare child care staff to quickly evacuate infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children in the event of fire or other emergency in order to prevent injury and death.
  • Outdoor playground surfaces should have adequate impact-absorbing surfacing materials to protect children from fractures and concussions from falls from climbing equipment. They should be climate-appropriate so that they do not overheat, such as a hot metal slide on a playground.
  • Have a ready emergency plan to make sure that child care providers are prepared to protect children before and during natural or man-made disasters.
  • Transportation guidelines should cover regularly checking vehicles on the premises to make sure no children are left in parked vehicles. Transportation guidelines should also cover the use of car seats and seatbelts.
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