If you’re a working parent in West Virginia, you may have considered one of the 38,000 licensed child care spaces available across child care centers, licensed homes, and school-age care programs in the state. When both parents work, or when you’re a single parent and don’t have family members who can care for your child, daycare serves as an important support system.
But how do you find the best West Virginia daycare for your child? What should you look for in a daycare? What questions should you ask daycare providers to know they will keep your child safe? Our West Virginia daycare negligence attorneys share their tips for parents and caregivers who are picking a daycare.
5 ‘Must-Dos’ Before Picking a Daycare in West Virginia
- Check that the daycare is licensed. All daycare centers are required to follow certain regulations set by the state. Check to see that any West Virginia daycare you’re considering is compliant with state regulations and has a current license. You can also find out if they’ve ever had any compliance issues, such as not providing training to staff, and if those have been resolved.
- Take a tour of the daycare. Visiting a daycare is one of the best ways to decide if it’s a good fit. When you visit, ask to tour all spaces, including inside and outside play areas. Daycare injuries can happen anywhere. Each year, more than 200,000 children are treated by the emergency department for playground-related injuries. Take note of how other children at the daycare look: do they seem happy and content? Are children being looked after at all times, or can they easily wander off?
- Find out about the daycare’s child-to-caregiver ratios. When you visit, ask how many children each caregiver is watching at a time. West Virginia has specific requirements for center-based care facilities. These are determined by the ages of the children who are being cared for and whether the daycare is a center-based care facility or home or family-based care. Daycares must not exceed these ratios, and you deserve to feel confident that there are enough caregivers to adequately care for your child.
- Look at the condition of the building and equipment. Is the building in need of fixing up and a good cleaning? Is the swing set barely in working order? Are the toys inappropriate or unsafe for young children? With 225,000 toy-related injuries happening each year, too many children are injured by toys in West Virginia daycares. Make sure your daycare isn’t taking any risks with dangerous equipment or toys.
- Ask about the daycare’s security system. Does the daycare have a security camera or other security measures in place to keep children safe? How do they record incidents? How do they make sure children don’t wander off, or that someone other than a child’s parent picks them up? Asking questions about their security measures and drop-off and pick-up plans will make it clear whether they have policies in place to protect the children in their care.
What if My Child Gets Hurt at Daycare?
Even when you take all precautions and do your best to pick the best daycare, accidents can still happen. If your child is hurt at daycare, it’s important to find out exactly what happened so you have proof if the daycare was negligent.
- First and foremost, always take your child to the doctor. Even if the injury seems minor, a doctor can rule out more serious issues that may not show up externally, like traumatic brain injuries.
- Next, make sure the daycare files an incident report, and ask for a copy. This helps establish a record of what happened that you can use as proof if need be.
- Finally, if you think your child may have gotten hurt because the daycare or a caregiver was being reckless or negligent, contact a daycare negligence attorney.
Talk to our West Virginia Daycare Negligence Attorneys
Our West Virginia daycare negligence attorneys understand how vulnerable it is to leave your child in someone else’s care, and what a betrayal it is when you find out your child has been hurt by someone else’s negligence. Whether your child's injuries happened because of another child, inadequate supervision, or unsafe or unsanitary conditions at the daycare, we can help.
The highly-skilled attorneys at Bailess Law Firm can look into what happened, guide you in understanding your legal rights and options for compensation, and work with you to build a strong case if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim.
If you think your child’s injury was caused by negligence at a daycare center or on the part of a caregiver, we’re here for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.