Acquired Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in small children is often a result of dysfunctional homes, mired in poverty, but it can also turn up in place where it is least expected. Even the children of the most careful parents can acquire TBI when daycare providers are negligent.
While TBI in the daycare setting is rare, its serious nature, along with other risks children face in poor quality daycare facilities, compels parents to be extraordinarily vigilant in investigating a daycare provider before deciding to place their children in another’s care.
One reason that TBI injuries occur in daycare settings is lack of regulation. Only ten states monitor daycare providers with unannounced visits or licensing in home-based settings. In addition, there is little government funding available to subsidize daycare. This combination of poor regulation and resources, coupled with working parents trying to make ends meet and cut costs for daycare services often results in poorly trained, low-paid workers at daycare centers.
TBI happens when a baby or young child is violently shaken. It is also known as shaken baby syndrome. Sadly, 25 percent of shaken babies will die from their injuries. Of the ones who survive, nearly all of them will experience lifelong complications from their injuries.
The most common age for shaken baby syndrome to occur is six months, although children as old as five years can suffer serious head trauma as a result of being violently shaken. In most cases, caregivers injure children after becoming overwhelmed by a crying baby.
A care provider may shake a child, instead of putting him or her down in a safe place and taking a moment to cool down. Male babies are more likely to be shaken than females, and almost 80 percent of the caregivers who are guilty of shaking babies are male.
The symptoms associated with TBI vary based on the frequency, duration, and violence of the abuse. In severe cases, a baby may experience seizures and bleeding in his eyes. But in mild cases, a baby may only be sluggish and grouchy. Shaken Baby Syndrome can be hard to spot, and, if missed, could lead to an escalation of abuse. It’s estimated that 15 percent of deaths in children are a result of shaking or other abuse.
Parents can safeguard their children from daycare provider negligence by investigating a center carefully before placing a child. An unannounced visit will provide a true picture of the center’s operations. Check for violations with state agencies as well and ask for references from other parents.
If you suspect that your daycare provider is negligent or abusive, don’t simply unenroll your children. It is vital for the protection of all children that parents report abuse and follow up to ensure other children are not injured.
If your child suffered serious injuries because of daycare negligence, contact our office for a free consultation. As your child’s advocate and protector, only you can speak for your child and help secure compensation for injuries caused by negligent childcare providers.
Daycare centers are referenced in this article, but I have to think that TBI is a problem in in-home daycares, too.
In a daycare center, when the provider gets so frustrated with a child that they feel like they want to shake it, they always have the option of asking another center employee to help out and step in to give them a break.
At an in-home daycare, the provider is usually working by themselves with many different aged children and doesn’t have the luxury of assistance in their daycare. As an in-home daycare provider for fifteen years, I have never shaken a baby, but I have gotten frustrated enough that I’ve had to lay the baby in their crib and walk away for a few minutes to recharge and calm myself down.
They have support lines for so many things, maybe individual states could set up a support line that parents and daycare providers could call when they’re frustration reaches a dangerous level.