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How safe is your child's day care?

For any parent, providing for a child's health, safety and wellbeing is paramount. For New York City parents, finding child care can be challenging and often suitable day care options are in short supply. Consequently, parents who are fortunate enough to find child care near their home or place of work may be quick to sign a child up without giving much thought to a center's health and safety record.

During 2015, New York City parents who sent a child to day care paid an average of $16,250. For this price, most parents likely assume that a facility is compliant with health and safety codes. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case and a February New York Daily News article details how a flawed licensure and inspection system fails to provide parents with critical health and safety information and ultimately puts kids at risk.

One case involved the drowning death of a three-year-old boy who was allowed to wander unsupervised into the backyard pool of a licensed home day care facility. After the boy's death, the day care provider's license was revoked, however the woman continues to operate another day care in the duplex unit next door and "none of the reports or sanctions regarding the toddler's drowning are readily available to the public."

This tragic case is just one of several examples chronicled by the Daily News where day care centers that were shut down for safety and health violations continue to operate under a different name or at an adjacent property. In another disturbing case, staff members at one day care accidently left a young child unattended at a park for nearly an hour. While the center's license was revoked after the incident, the matter was resolved after payment of a $1,000 fine and the center reopened with no record of the incident appearing in its public record.

This is true in many cases where records of "serious infractions are kept in suspension and revocation files" which can only be accessed after submitting a formal Freedom of Information Law request, which often takes months. Even when violations are noted in a day care's record, the language is often ambiguous.

Parents who have a child that was neglected, harmed or injured while in the care of a day care provider may choose to speak with an attorney about their legal options.

Source: The New York Daily News, "EXCLUSIVE: New York City day care violations can slip through the cracks, leading parents to think their kids are safer than they are," Greg B. Smith, Feb. 11, 2016

New York Daily News, “Average cost of daycare in NYC tops $16G, leaving many families struggling to provide care for kids,” Erin Durkin, Nov. 9, 2015

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