As a parent, you place a lot of time and effort in choosing the right day care center for your kids, and you hope your decision on which center to choose is the right one. Four Charlotte families may be rethinking the day care center they had entrusted with their children after a fire destroyed a local home that also serves as a day care center in North Charlotte. The rules for home day care centers are not the same as for other child care facilities. According to DHHS, this particular home daycare was license and was operating in accordance with the number of children allowed. This fire was ruled an accident, and seems to have started from some disposed charcoal in the back of the home. All four children and one adult escaped safely without injury.
No parent wants to receive the phone call in which they learn their child’s safety was compromised by the facility they trusted. Everyone in the day care center is lucky to have walked away from the blaze unharmed. Under NC law, the staff to child ratio for in-home child care is much more restrictive than the ratio required for an independent child care facility. For example, for an in-home daycare, there cannot be more than 5 participants who are of pre-school age, and that includes the pre-school age children of the owner/operator.
What should you do, as a parent, if you learn your child was injured at day care? In this case, the fire seems to have started due to negligence. If a child had been injured, his or her parents or guardian could file a civil suit against the homeowner for negligently disposing of the hot charcoal that caused the fire. In the event of a wrongful death, you may have to take the painful step of filing a wrongful death suit against the responsible party, even if your child’s death was an accident. This can be an excruciating and awkward experience, but a necessary one in order to pay for medical bills and funeral expenses.
North Carolina’s Department of Social Services inspects each licensed day care center multiple times a year. If your child was injured at a day care center that has prior, unresolved citations, this may strengthen your case. Every case involves a different set of circumstances, but it is important that you, as the parent, are aware of your child’s rights under North Carolina law. At Auger & Auger we urge you to be extremely thorough when choosing the right day care center for your child or toddler. Do not hesitate to inquire about staff history and always take a look at the center’s license. North Carolina keeps updated records on all licensed facilities, so call the DSS or look up a possible facility online to check out its rating. In the event that tragedy does strike, call us today to speak with a seasoned attorney about your child’s injury.