One simple email from a daycare provider can turn a parent’s household upside down. “A child that attends class with your son or daughter has been found to carry _____________.” That blank can be filled in with something as common as lice or as rare as pinworms. Regardless, that email fills a parent with dread, and indicates hours of household cleaning with bleach and multiple trips to the doctor.
Daycare centers walk a fine line when it comes to sharing medical information with parents. While they are legally required to inform parents of potential infections and diseases, daycare centers have to follow medical privacy laws.
If your child becomes sick or infected with a parasite from a daycare center, you might have a case of negligence. However, simple sickness does not mean you have a case. The daycare center must be neglectful in its cleanliness, maintenance, and responsiveness to problems. No daycare center is going to be perfectly clean. And if you want your children to run around in the sunshine, they can be exposed to dirt and standing water.
While you may not be an expert in daycare operations, as a parent you can request to spend a day at the daycare center observing the staff’s attentiveness, cleaning procedures, and hygiene practices. Discretely take notes. (Send text messages to yourself noting anything that needs improvement.) In addition, you can request a meeting with the center’s director and ask to see the operations handbook. Ask for more details about the infectious disease and ask what steps the daycare center took to avoid further exposure.
Once you have collected some information, consult a personal injury attorney. Present your findings to the lawyer. If the lawyer thinks you have a case of neglect, you might be able to collect damages for medical costs, lost wages for you, and pain and suffering for your child.
No daycare center is going to be perfect. However, spending some time observing the day-to-day activities will help you and your attorney decide if legal action is necessary.