Accident in a Crèche Claim *
An accident in a creche * that causes injury to a child is treated a little differently to an accident involving an adult. A minor cannot make a claim themselves until they reach the age of 18, however, a parent or guardian of a child (known as the next friend) can pursue a claim on their behalf.
When people bring their child to a crèche or nursery they expect the highest level of care towards their children, from how the staff interact with the children to staff to child ratios at the creche. If your child has sustained an injury as a result of an accident in a crèche you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation on their behalf.
What is a ‘Next Friend’?
With claims made for a child under the age of 18, a parent or guardian may stand in to represent them because a minor cannot make a claim themselves. The individual who steps in to represent them is known as the ‘next friend’. All information regarding the child and their claim is then passed through this person. Prior to making a claim for them, it is important that the child has received medical attention as the health and well-being of the child is the number one priority in this process.
What to do when your Child has had an accident
1. Ensure your child receives medical attention
2. Document the details of the accident
- The location of the accident where your child was injured.
- Obtain the contact details of any witnesses to the accident.
- Find out as many details as you can about how the accident happened.
- Take photographs and obtain and CCTV footage in the area.
- Obtain the details of any Garda who may have attended the scene of the
3. Contact a personal injury * solicitor
All personal injury* cases involving a minor must be ruled in front of a judge. This means that even if a case is settled by an insurance company or a case is assessed by the Injuries Board then a judge must approve the amount of that settlement.
Monies awarded in personal injury claims involving children are lodged in court at the successful conclusion of the case and are available to the child once they reach the age of majority (18).
Who is Liable?
An important first step in the personal injuries claims process * is determining who is liable for the injuries which have been sustained by the child. In cases where an accident occurred because of the actions/inactions of the staff then the staff of the nursery or crèche may be held liable. They may have acted in a negligent manner which then led to the accident. All employees should ensure the health and safety of the children in their care at all times. They have a responsibility to do so and should follow all health and safety regulations which are in place as this will help to prevent accidents from occurring. It is important to note that if another child has contributed to the cause of any injuries sustained that it can be quite difficult to determine who is at fault.
Employees in a crèche or nursey have certain responsibilities and guidelines which must be followed at all times. These guidelines include;
- All employees should be fully trained and qualified
- There should be health and safety regulations in place
- At least one member of staff should be first aid trained
- A report of any accidents that occur should be kept in the record book
- There should be at least the minimum number of child care workers to the number of children
Adult to Child Ratios
There are strict regulations in place in regards to the number of responsible adults who should be caring for a group of children. This number will vary on the amount of time in which the children will need care. If these ratios are not maintained the chance of an accident occurring increases. These ratios are set out as follows;
Full-time hours (5+ hours per day) and part-time hours (3.5 – 5 hours per day)
0-1 years – 1 adult to 3 children
1-2 years – 1 adult to 5 children
2-3 years – 1 adult to 6 children
3-6 years – 1 adult to 8 children
Sessional Services (up to 3.5 hours per day)
0-1 years – 1 adult to 3 children
1-2.5 years – 1 adult to 5 children
2.5-6 years – 1 adult to 11 children
- Breaks and fractures
- Cuts and lacerations
- Food Poisoning
- Injuries to the legs and feet
- Head injuries
- Damage to teeth
- Internal injuries
- Nerve Damage
Causes of Crèche Accidents
Injuries caused by defective or unsafe toys can be quite common. These toys can cause a number of injuries from cuts and bruises to becoming a choking hazard for the child. It is often the cases that these toys have become defective as a result of an error made during the manufacturing process. It is important that any of these toys are kept away from children if an employee notices an issue with them. If your child has been injured by a defective toy * you should take note of the details relating to the toy. This includes the name, packaging and details of the defect which caused the injury to your child.
Lack of supervision
When it comes to the care of children it is very important that there is adequate supervision at all times. There should be the correct ratio of adults to children as this can help to prevent accidents and injuries. There should be supervision at all times throughout the day and especially during sport and play activities where the children will be most active.
Faulty and Defective Furniture
Faulty furniture includes any chairs, desks or outdoor play equipment which is faulty or defective in some way. Faulty furniture should be disposed of so that no injuries are sustained as a result. It is important that employees check all furniture and equipment on a regular basis and any damaged furniture should be repaired or replaced in a timely manner.
Poor food preparation
In some crèches and nurseries, employees prepare food for the children. If this food is prepared in an unsafe manner or in an unhygienic way, children could become ill as a result of food poisoning. This is a common illness which is caused by eating contaminated foods. It can have serious consequences for both adults and children as it weakens the general health of a person, especially if symptoms persist.
There should be procedures in place to deal with the cleaning of wet floors and spillages. They should be cleaned up in a timely manner so as to avoid accidents and injuries to both children and employees. Warning and wet floor signs should be avoided as children may not understand what this means.
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