Child Injury at Day Care – Using Georgia Licensing Standards for Day Care Centers to Prove Negligence

When an injury to a child occurs at a day care center it is probable that State of Georgia licensing standards and Bright From The Start regulations have been violated.

Bright From The Start (also known as the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning) is the agency charged with enforcing Georgia’s child safety, health and welfare laws in connection with child care learning centers.

When a child is hurt at a day care center and that injury was caused by a failure to adhere to Georgia licensing standards and/or regulations promulgated by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, this violation of Georgia law or regulation may form the basis of a negligence per se (negligence as a matter of law or negligence “on its face”) claim.

An attorney that is familiar with the laws and regulations that pertain to child care learning centers can determine if any such violations existed and led to the harm caused your child.

There are numerous safety-related subjects addressed in the regulations and the applicability of different aspects of the regulations varies depending on whether a day care center is categorized as a “family day care home,” “group day care home,” day care center” or some other designation. It is important to determine the legal designation of what kind of child care learning center your child was attending before researching which regulations apply.

Some of the definitions that determine what category a center falls into are found here:

O.C.G.A. Section 20-1A-2

One reason it is imperative to have an attorney review your situation by consulting the Georgia licensing standards and related regulations is that there are MANY detailed rules and regulations with which child care learning centers must comply. Since many specific requirements exist, and your claim may be much stronger if we can demonstrate the center violated one or more of them, we want to carefully evaluate the center’s compliance. If we can establish non-compliance we can also establish that IF the center had been compliant your child’s injury would have been preventable.

To give one example of the kind of detailed rules centers must follow, you might take a look at what is required regarding infant sleeping safety requirements in Section 290-2-3-.19 of the Bright From The Start Rules and Regulations for owners and operators of Family Day Care Homes.

290-2-3-.19 Infant-Sleeping Safety Requirements.

In order to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), staff shall put an
infant to sleep on the infant’s back unless the home has been provided a physician’s
written statement authorizing another sleep position for that particular infant. The infant
shall be placed for sleeping on a firm, tight-fitting mattress in a sturdy and safe crib. If
the crib has side bars, the bars will be no more than two and three eighths inches (2 3
/8") apart. Any crib used for sleeping shall have a tight-fitting bottom crib sheet with no
pillows, quilts, comforters, bumper pads, sheepskins, stuffed toys, or other soft items in
the crib. If a blanket is required for the comfort of the infant, the infant’s feet shall be
placed at the foot of the crib and the infant shall be covered with the blanket only to chest
level with the blanket tucked firmly under the crib mattress. The infant’s sleeping area
shall be maintained within a temperature range of sixty-five (65) to eighty-five (85)
degrees depending upon the season. When an infant can easily turn over onto his or her
stomach, staff shall continue to put the infant to sleep initially on the infant’s back but
allow the infant to roll over onto his or her stomach as the infant prefers. Positioning
devices that restrict an infant’s movement in the crib shall not be used unless a
physician’s written statement authorizing its use is provided for that particular infant.