In October 2017, an 8-month-old child sustained severe burn injuries over nearly one-fifth of her body when she was scalded by hot water at an Austin daycare facility. It’s reported that daycare workers used a Crockpot slow cooker filled with water to warm baby bottles.

However, the slow cooker wasn’t always watched. Apparently, neither was the 8-month-old, who was able to tip it over. When she did, the water splashed her, causing second-and-third-degree burns. She was rushed to a local hospital in Austin, TX where she received treatment.

The parents, outraged that their child had been injured, filed a lawsuit again the daycare center. Earlier this month, the lawsuit was settled for $2 Million – the maximum amount of money insurance was willing to pay.

Day Care Centers in Austin Have to Keep Kids Safe

When you send your children to a daycare center in Austin, you expect that they’ll be taken care of. And, for good reason. Daycare centers have a legal duty to keep the kids in their care safe. The center – and its employees – have to take reasonable steps and actions to make sure that accidents and injuries don’t happen. Failure to take those steps can be considered negligence and result in financial liability for resulting harm.

Here’s a look at what daycare centers in Texas have to do to fulfill their duty of care to the families they serve.

Hire Qualified Staff

Facilities have to hire competent staff, provide necessary training, and monitor the staff’s performance and behavior. There has to be some level of oversight. Taking care of kids is challenging, so anyone hired for the job has to be trustworthy, safe, and reliable. It’s up to the daycare center to make sure that workers have the tools that are necessary to do the job. If a child gets hurt because of a staff member’s negligence, the daycare might be held responsible if that negligence is partly their fault.

Keep a Safe Environment

A daycare center has to make sure that children will have a safe space to play, sleep, eat, and stay. Kids get into everything and can seem to find anything and everything that might cause them harm. So, it’s up to daycare centers to maintain a safe environment. That might mean keeping dangerous objects – like scissors – in rooms that kids cannot access. At the very least, hazards should be locked away or elevated in a place where kids can’t reach.

Monitor Children at All Times

The best way to keep kids safe is by watching them like a hawk. Daycare centers should have an appropriate and safe staff-to-child ratio. That can help to ensure that all children are always being watched and cared for.

It can help to avoid situations like the one that caused an infant to suffer burns across 14 percent of her body. The daycare workers – knowing that a Crockpot was filled with hot water was sitting nearby – should have taken extra precautions to keep an eye on all of the children.

Girl, Family Can Use Damages to Cover Medical Costs, Pain and Suffering

The Austin daycare center and the infant’s family agreed to settle the personal injury lawsuit for $2 Million. That happens to be the maximum amount of money the daycare provider’s insurer was willing to pay. The financial award can be used by the girl’s family to compensate for:

  • Medical expenses, including hospitalization, corrective surgery, plastic surgery, medication, followup medical treatment, and more.
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the child and the family.
  • Emotional trauma and distress stemming from the incident.
  • Disfigurement and scarring, and more.

It’s important to note that by accepting a settlement offer, the girl’s family probably had to sign a waiver releasing the daycare from future liability. That means that $2 Million is the most they’ll ever be able to secure from the daycare or their insurer.

If, down the line, it turns out that the girl’s third-degree burn injuries adversely affect her ability to work, and her damages actually exceed $2 Million, there will be no recourse for additional compensation. Accepting the $2 Million means that the lawsuit is over and the litigation terminates.

Since accepting a settlement is so conclusive, it’s important to make sure that any offers considered cover the full extent of not only present damages, but future damages, as well.