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Pre-K Accidents and Injuries

SCHOOL STARTS EARLIER

While students may say that the school year seems to start earlier every year, there are some parents and grandparents who may say that school seems to start earlier in the life of children these days. No longer is the first day--or half day--of kindergarten the momentous occasion it used to be. Now kindergarten, typically a full day for most children, is preceded by pre-k for one and even two years. According to statistics from the National Institute for Early Education Research, over two-thirds of four year olds and greater than forty percent of three year olds were enrolled in preschool in 2005. That number has likely only increased in the last decade, particularly in states such as Georgia where state-funded pre-k programs exist.

With so many small children entering pre-k schools every year, it is essential that parents know how to choose the right program for their child. Below are some basic criteria to look for, as well as the types of acts and omissions on the part of staff that can lead to harm to a child in care.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

When visiting a pre-k center, the basics come first: is it clean and safe? Are there working smoke detectors, an accessible first-aid kit, age-appropriate and safe toys? Is the jungle-gym equipment well-maintained and safe? Are any art materials, such as scissors and glue, the child-friendly kind? Is the environment sanitary, and are cleaners visible and used? Is food properly stored and the cooking space properly cleaned?

Once these basic questions are answered, a deeper look into curriculum should be next. A quality pre-school program should offer different activities--books, blocks, art, music--for its little students to enjoy. Finally, the general atmosphere of the center must be evaluated: is it a friendly, caring place that makes you feel comfortable? If you do not feel comfortable, most likely your child will not.

DUTIES OF A PRE-SCHOOL

A pre-school has certain duties with respect to its staff and its facility, and any failure to meet it obligations can create liability on the part of the school for negligence. A pre-school must conduct proper background checks on its employees, and must properly train and supervise them as well. If an employee disciplines a child inappropriately, or causes an accident due to lack of training or supervision, the school can be held liable.

Adequate and proper staffing in pre-schools is essential to the safety of the children in the school's care. The recommended teacher/child ratio is one teacher per 8-10 four and five year olds, and one adult per 6 two and three year olds. Inadequate staffing and supervision can result not only in fewer learning opportunities, but in harm to the children who are not receiving enough attention from caregivers.

Adequate and proper maintenance of equipment, both inside and outside of the school, is also essential to the safety of the children. A loose monkey bar, a broken latch on a gate, or a scalding hot water facet can all lead to serious injury. Unsanitary conditions or failure to properly clean cooking and bathroom spaces can lead to infections in children.

Finally, it is the duty of the teachers and staff of a pre-school to be aware of and prepared for any allergic reactions of their students to food or medicine that they receive while at school. Proper preparation for acute allergic reactions can save lives.

CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY

While we all strive for the perfect environment for our children, we know that accidents can and do happen. When these accidents are caused by the negligence of a pre-school and its staff, they can be held liable for the harm caused to your child. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to recover damages for present and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses caused by the injury to your child.

If your child has been injured at a pre-school program, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free evaluation of your case today.

For a list of FAQs and state licensing requirements, go to Bright from the Start: DECAL, decal.ga.gov

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

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