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Day care centers may place your child at risk

If you struggled to find an appropriate, affordable day care center for your children, you are like many parents in Pennsylvania and across the country. Finding affordable day care is a challenge for many working parents, and not every facility is the right fit for your child. You likely visited several homes and day care centers before finding one that worked for your family, and you may not want to think about the possibility that something is not quite right.

Is your child sick a lot? Does your child get injured while at day care? Have you ever taken a really close look at the area designated for your child to play? If you haven't visited the day care lately, a recent inspection report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services may prompt you to make an inspection of your own.

Health and safety issues common across the country

The federal government provides subsidies for certain child care facilities across the country. HHS does random, periodic inspections for compliance with the health and safety regulations stipulated in the day care licenses. Following the most recent surprise inspections, a report revealed that a shocking 96 percent of the facilities the HHS inspectors visited had at least one serious violation of those regulations, placing children in danger of injury or illness. Among those critical violations included:

  • Mold and dirt in restrooms
  • Unsecured alcohol in children's reach
  • Animal excrement in play areas outside
  • Rusty nails in fences surrounding playgrounds
  • Sharp tools and chemical cleaners accessible to children

One of the most essential requirements for day care facilities is that those employed or who have access to the children must undergo criminal background checks. During visits to 227 in-home day cares and day care facilities, the HHS inspectors found 186 people who had not undergone this screening process. These people either worked at the day care or otherwise had access to the children. Do you know who has access to your children while you are at work? Are you certain there are no hazards at your child's fingertips?

Perhaps your child has already suffered an injury or illness related to the environment in his or her day care. If this is the case, you certainly want to know your rights and the legal options available to you. Consulting with an attorney may be the surest way of knowing the most appropriate steps to take.

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