Particularly in these difficult economic times, parents no longer have the option of having one parent stay home to take care of the children while the other parent works. As a result, parents must resort to placing their children in daycare. While many daycare centers are well-run and do not experience any major issues, there are others that are not as concerned as they should be about your child’s safety. Unfortunately, sometimes you will not discover whether your daycare center is truly good or bad until a problem arises. daycare.jpeg
One issue that comes up on a frequent, but irregular, basis is that of E. coli. It is a type of bacterium that commonly resides in the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. E. coli is transmitted when people come into contact with feces containing the bacterium. It can get into meat during processing, and it may be found in raw dairy products or raw fruits and vegetables. Sometimes feces can get into a lake or other water supply, and E. coli can find its way into drinking water. E. coli is also spread through person-to-person contact, usually when an infected person does not wash his or her hands after going to the bathroom.

Unfortunately, children are quite susceptible to contracting E. coli at daycare. The news organizations seem to be constantly telling us about another shipment of fruits or vegetables that are infected with E. coli, and if your daycare provides food to your child, they may be at risk. In addition, as many parents are aware, children are not always very hygienic and may not wash their hands after going to the bathroom. With all of the children touching the doorknobs, tables, other surfaces, books and toys, it is not hard to imagine a child spreading E. coli bacterium all over the daycare center.

It is important to remember that even if your child contracts E. coli from their daycare center, the center may not necessarily be liable. In these types of lawsuits, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted negligently or intentionally to cause the infection.

A daycare may act negligently by failing to ensure that the children in their care are properly washing their hands. In addition, a daycare center may be negligent if it fails to properly clean the rooms, including all of the toys, books and all the areas the children may touch. After all, an outbreak may be prevented or limited by using anti-bacterial cleaner throughout the room. If the daycare center provides food, they may act negligently if they fail to properly clean or prepare the food that results in the E. coli contamination.

A daycare center acts intentionally when they are aware that E. coli has been detected in the daycare center, but fail to inform the children’s parents. Also, if the center is aware that one child has contracted E. coli, it acts intentionally if it does not alert parents to the possibility of an outbreak. In those situations, warning the parents might limit or prevent an outbreak.

Regardless of the reasoning behind an outbreak, you should always consult experienced legal counsel if you suspect that your child’s illness was caused by the daycare center they attend. Lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations, so if you wait too long to contact an attorney, you may never be able to bring a claim.

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