How Dangerous Are Daycares in NYC?

Sakkas Cahn & Weiss

Between 2013 and 2016, group daycares in New York City received 19,493 violation citations. 50% of those were critical violations, termed as violations that must be corrected within two weeks.

According to government reports, the worst offender during that reporting period was My Little Language School, Mi Pequena Escuelita, Inc., in Manhattan, which racked up 74 violations and 12 public health violations in a single year.

Over half of the violations were due to failures to conduct the necessary criminal and safety background checks on staff members.

When you send your child to daycare, you expect the facility to be safe, clean, and fun. While most of us know that children can get hurt during the normal course of play, we expect, and the law expects, that providers will take the necessary steps to avoid preventable catastrophic injuries and illnesses.

Existing regulations require that childcare centers:

  • Perform background checks to prevent sex offenders and violent felons from becoming employed at their facilities.
  • Perform mental and physical health checks on staff members.
  • Train employees on CPR and first aid.
  • Secure their locations with a secure entry system to ensure infants and children don’t leave, and unauthorized people don’t enter.
  • Test the drinking water to ensure it does not contain lead, heavy metals, or contaminants.
  • Perform fire department inspections.
  • Have and use a written safety plan.
  • Inspect and report to ensure safety and quality compliance.
  • Staff members must always be able to see all children.
  • Take steps to adhere to food safety requirements.
  • Follow an infant sleep safety plan.
  • Put together an emergency evacuation plan and meet safety drill requirements.
  • Immunize and control infections for students and staff members.
  • Follow proper medication administering and storage procedures.
  • Provide staff members with anti-child abuse and maltreatment training.
  • Follow rodent, insect, and pest control requirements.
  • Hire staff that meets minimum education and certification requirements and who meet their annual ongoing training requirements.

When choosing a daycare, we recommend going to the New York City Department of Health’s website to search for the name of your daycare center. Use this form.

For example, if you search 4 Angels Day Care Inc. on Staten Island, you’ll see their record. You’ll get a wealth of information about them. First, they’ve been in business for 18 years. They’ve had a handful of violations, but only 16% of their annual inspections have resulted in any issues, which is lower than the citywide average. Some of their violations were the types of issues that could be corrected at the time of inspection.

On their 2023 inspection, they passed it with no violations. They’ve had their water lead test done. They have 9 teachers watching over 20 children. The only critical violation they’ve ever had was failing to provide SIDS, Shaken Baby Syndrome, and Safe Sleep Practice training. They might not have been aware they needed to provide it; if they handle the problem within two weeks, that might be a daycare you could feel reasonably comfortable sending your child to.

Daycares that fall short of appropriate guidelines aren’t necessarily staffed with bad people. In many cases, insufficient wages, unstable work conditions, and poor training account for incidences of negligence within daycare centers. Nevertheless, the reasons for the dangers do not necessarily matter as much as the presence of them and the steps you can take to try to keep your child safe before making use of any daycare service.

Of course, there are no guarantees. No matter how much due diligence you do, there’s always the chance that something could go wrong.

If it does, and your child gets hurt, you can launch a personal injury lawsuit to cover those medical bills, any wages you lose while dealing with your child’s injuries, any additional expenses those injuries incur, and pain and suffering damages for your child which would typically go into a trust to be released to them after they turn 18, as the compensation there would be for their pain and suffering rather than yours. As you’re the person who pays the medical bills, however, that suit would take a major expense off your plate.

None of this information is meant to frighten you out of using daycare. We know that childcare is in crisis in New York and America more broadly, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Access to child care is a critical need for many families.

We hope our work ultimately makes child care safer for parents and families. We’re providing information to reduce childcare injuries while making it clear that parents do have a recourse if something goes wrong with their childcare services.

If your child has gotten hurt, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation. Our team is happy to review your case’s facts and help you determine the next steps.

See also:

When Can You Sue for a NYC Daycare Injury?

How to Help Your Lawyer Make You Money in Your Personal Injury Case

Tips For Documenting Your Personal Injury Case

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