For the tens of millions of American parents who work and are constantly on the go, choosing a childcare facility to watch their children is one of the most important decisions of a family’s life. Due its great importance, childcare facilities are heavily governed in California by the California Code of Regulations Title 22, which requires a childcare facility to comply with requirements to gain a license. When a parent chooses a childcare facility, most parents have to sign a multitude of contractual papers including indemnification clauses and liability clauses. Even though parents may think they sign their rights away with these contracts, when a child has been injured, most courts still hold the childcare facility liable for any and all injuries to the child. Indeed, most courts find that these facilities have a duty of care that is owed to the child and parents that cannot be waived off.
Unlicensed childcare facilities
What might come as a shock to many parents is that childcare facilities at heath clubs/gyms, supermarkets and churches may not require a license at all. These non-traditional childcare facilities are exempt from regulatory licensing requirements as long as the parents are at the facility while the child is in daycare.
So what happens if you go for some quick cardio at the gym, put your precious child in the gym’s daycare facility, only to realize later that your child has been injured? This very issue is currently being litigated in San Francisco.
A mother put her young son in the childcare facility at the Bay Club fitness center in San Francisco, California. The child was injured at the gyms childcare facility. After contacting the clubs ownership, the club stated that it was exempt from any regulation by the state, and claimed no wrongdoing in this matter. The parents of the injured child are suing on his behalf, and are awaiting trial to see if this club owes a duty of care.
Questions to ask before selecting a daycare program
The outcome of this case should be a potential warning for all parents who are planning on using these non-traditional facilities to care for their child. Parents need to ask the following questions before putting their children at these types of non-traditional facilities:
- Am I signing a separate childcare facility contract which includes the duties involved with the protection of my child? Or is the facilities part of my membership fee (as with a gym) and there is no contract specifying what the facilities will offer?
- What type of training do the facility operators have? What type of education and background do they have? Are the staff certified in first aid/emergency care etc?
- How many facility operators are on shift when my child is there? What is the ratio of children to facility operators? Too many children and too few operators could be a disaster.
Suing for your injured child
Even if you haven’t asked these questions, you still can sue for damages if your child is injured. Just like the Bay Area Club Case, parents should not feel hesitant to fight for damages after their child has been injured. If you or someone you know has a child who has been injured in a non traditional child care facility, tell them to contact the experienced injury attorneys at Ghozland Law Firm for a free consultation.