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Are Day Cares Liable for Injuries Suffered by Children in Their Care?

Every parent’s worst nightmare is the thought of their child being injured while under the care of a day care facility. While day care centers provide children with a safe and nurturing environment, accidents can still happen.

When they do, the question of liability arises. In many cases, you can hold the day care responsible if you can show negligent supervision or unsafe premises contributed to your child’s injuries.

Our Fox Cities premises liability attorneys at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help you prove day care liability and get fair compensation on behalf of your child.

Day Care Responsibility and Duty of Care

Day care centers have a duty of care to the children entrusted to them. When day cares fail to meet this duty, they may be held liable for injuries on their premises. This can include the following circumstances:

Failure to Supervise

When a day care fails to supervise the children under their care adequately, parents can hold them responsible for the harm done to a child. Injuries can occur when day care staff do not provide constant supervision or fail to intervene when children engage in dangerous activities.

All states, including Wisconsin, require day cares to meet child-to-staff ratios. These vary by age but include 1:4 for children from birth to 2 years old, 1:6 for children 2 to 2.5 years old, and 1:18 for children ages 5 and over. If the day care does not have appropriate coverage and this leads to inadequate supervision, ownership, management, or staff may be liable for resulting injuries.

Hazardous Materials and Products

Day cares must keep hazardous materials and products out of reach of children. Leaving toxic chemicals, cleaning supplies, or small objects within the reach of curious babies, toddlers, and elementary-age kids can lead to accidents and injuries.

If a child ingests a harmful substance or chokes on a small object due to day care negligence, the day care may be held liable for failing to maintain a safe environment.

Physical and Emotional Abuse

Day care staff are expected to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children. If a day care employee physically or emotionally abuses a child, the day care may be held liable for any resulting injuries or psychological trauma.

This can include yelling, hitting, or intimidating a child. It could also include making threats, harsh punishments, or withholding food or basic needs, like using the bathroom.


Neglecting a child’s basic needs, such as food, water, or proper supervision, can also result in injuries. If a child becomes dehydrated, malnourished, or suffers harm due to a lack of oversight, the day care may be held responsible for neglect.

Typical instances of neglect in day care facilities include:

  • Failure to provide adequate nutrition
  • Insufficient hydration
  • Inadequate supervision leading to injuries
  • Lack of attention to basic safety measures
  • Ignoring children’s emotional or social needs
  • Not providing a clean and safe environment

Falling from Changing Tables

In day care settings, falls from changing tables can lead to lawsuits if they result from negligence. Situations like understaffed facilities leading to inadequate supervision, staff negligence, or the use of unsafe changing tables with missing safety straps contribute to these preventable accidents.

Falls can result in minor injuries like scratches or bruising. They can also cause broken bones and head trauma, especially if the fall was from more than 3 feet or onto a hard surface. If this happens to your child, the day care’s failure to ensure child safety can be grounds for legal action.

Dangerous Playground Equipment

Playground equipment is a common source of injuries in day care settings. Day cares are responsible for maintaining safe playgrounds and regularly inspecting equipment for defects.

If a child is injured on playground equipment known to be dangerous or defective, such as a high slide with broken guardrails, you could file a claim against the care provider or manufacturer. If the day care did not conduct proper inspections, they could also be liable for the child’s injuries.

Establishing Liability

Establishing liability against a day care involves proving certain legal elements. Our attorneys at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help you demonstrate the following to hold the day care facility responsible for damages to your child:

  • Duty: We can help establish that the day care had a legal duty to ensure your child’s safety. We can use state regulations and industry standards to show they were responsible for providing a safe environment and adequate supervision.
  • Breach: To prove a breach of duty, we gather evidence such as incident reports, witness statements, and surveillance footage to demonstrate how the day care failed in its obligations.
  • Causation: Our team can link the breach of duty to your child’s injury. This might involve medical expert testimony to show that the negligence directly resulted in harm.
  • Damages: We can quantify the damages your child suffered. This includes medical bills, psychological assessments, and any long-term care needs, establishing the full impact of the injury on your child’s life.

Seek Compassionate, Skilled Legal Representation for Your Case

Day cares can be held liable for injuries children suffer when they fail to uphold their duty of care. If your child was injured due to day care negligence, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help you seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We can review the circumstances around your child’s injuries, determine liability, and hold the negligent day care responsible in a personal injury claim.

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