Arizona Attorneys Representing Children Improperly Restrained in Daycare
When parents drop their children off at daycare, they envision a day full of coloring, singing, and other fun activities. Unfortunately, many children face more than fun during the course of their day.
All children misbehave at some point, whether it’s not wanting to share a toy with another child, or throwing a tantrum because they don’t like what’s being offered for lunch. When these situations occur, daycare staff need to handle it with patience and firm authority. However, many daycares do not train their staff or enforce gentle guidance for dealing with a misbehaving child, and the situation can escalate until a child is hurt.
In other cases, staff members may become so frustrated they restrain the child. This may also happen when a child is NOT misbehaving, but is simply very energetic. Unnecessary restraint is not acceptable, and can be considered a form of daycare child abuse. Unfortunately, we at The Husband & Wife Law Team have seen many cases of children being drugged just to keep them quiet.
Restraints are anything that prevents someone from moving freely, or using one’s body. They can be:
- Mechanical, such as straps on a bed or chair;
- Physical, such as when a child is held down by another person, or
- Chemical, when drugs are used to sedate a child.
Restraints are most often used to subdue a child, or stop an undesirable behavior. In ideal situations, restraint would only be used temporarily to stop a child from hurting himself or others. But increasingly, physical and chemical restraints are being used by frustrated caregivers who do not know how to manage a child’s behavior, even when that behavior is not dangerous to anyone.
The improper use of restraints can lead to severe injuries, such as broken bones, head trauma, psychological trauma, and even death. Children with disabilities are particularly at risk. When physical restraints are used, they may not understand what’s happening, leading to aggressive behavior that puts them in danger of serious injury.
In addition, young children, and especially children with disabilities, often have no way of telling their parents that restraints were used, allowing the daycare to get away with it. Children may think their parents are going to punish them further, or believe this is normal discipline for their behavior. Parents rarely hear about restraints being used on their children, so be observant and ask questions. A Phoenix daycare injury attorney can help you know what to look out for.
While it’s hard for many parents to believe, the a U.S. Department of Education survey in 2010 found there are 17 states that have no specific statute pertaining to restraints being used on children in schools or daycares. There is also no statute requiring these facilities to notify parents when restraints have been used; a law that 22 other states have in place.
However, that doesn’t mean Arizona allows daycares to restrain children. Arizona Administrative Code and Arizona Revised Statutes for Child Care Facilities Section R9-5- 510 says licensed childcare centers must ensure that staff members do not use or permit discipline associated with mechanical restraint. Chemical restraints are a newer trend with the growing popularity of overmedication, especially in regards to antipsychotic drugs. However, Arizona law restricts childcare centers on administering medication to avoid improper medication of children.
Bottom line: daycares do not have a right to restrain your child without just cause.
Parents have legal options if they learn restraints were used on their child, particularly if the use of restraints resulted in injury. Arizona personal injury law rests on the legal concept of negligence. Negligence when it comes to childcare is generally understood to mean taking some action that another professional caregiver in the same situation would not take; for example, giving a hyperactive child an un-prescribed antipsychotic drug to calm him down, which then causes serious side effects.
A daycare center’s owner may be held liable in this situation if they did not train their staff to deal with a behavioral situation correctly, or if the center enables or ignores the use of restraints. The staff member may also be held liable for any injuries the child suffered.
It is heartbreaking for parents to discover their child has been treated poorly. However, in order to have a valid personal injury claim, there must be some type of injury to your child. You can seek compensation for your child’s physical injuries, and also for any psychological trauma, such as if your child has nightmares that she is being restrained.
If you believe your child has been improperly restrained at Phoenix daycare, call The Husband & Wife Law Team, at (602) 457-6222. Arizona law is very clear about neglect and abuse in a daycare setting. We want to help you and your child receive compensation for any injuries and emotional damage caused by the restraint. We know there is nothing more important than protecting your children, so don’t hesitate to call.
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