Child Care Injury: Are Child Care Centers in Gyms Regulated?
In Florida, many parents rely on childcare facilities to provide a watchful eye over their children. Some of these facilities provide all-day care, while others specialize in shorter, sporadic childcare. However, parents expect any daycare center to provide attentive and careful babysitting. One way parents can ensure their children are watched by a reliable service is by verifying that the business is regulated by the State of Florida.
In addition to checking regulations and certifications, many parents conduct substantial research on their regular babysitter or childcare provider, but far less common is investigation into shorter childcare arrangements, such as childcare centers in fitness centers and gyms. The Florida Department of Children and Families views these facilities differently, and when utilizing daycare services in a fitness facility or gym, a parent should be equally vigilant and aware of the level of care offered.
Oversight of Child Care Services in Fitness Centers
The Florida Department of Families and Children is responsible for regulating all childcare facilities and daycare services throughout the state. While this state-level department is responsible for developing and propagating appropriate daycare standards, it often leaves oversight and enforcement to county agencies, as long as such agencies require the same standards or higher of their childcare facilities.
Florida requires every childcare facility to hold a valid license in order to operate, and this includes childcare facilities in gyms. Licensure must include specific information about the program, which is made available to parents. This information includes the type of program, type of service provided, ages and number of children allowed at the facility, whether children are transported by the facility, and the fees required for care.
While this information can be helpful for a parent deciding whether to utilize a particular childcare service at a gym or other fitness facility, it doesn’t provide adequate information about the level of care or attention from the staff.
Why Are Gym Daycares Under-Regulated?
Overall, the Department of Families and Children can review any type of facility or service, but childcare providers in fitness facilities are often under-regulated for two reasons.
First, when a daycare is located within a fitness facility, the implication is the parent or guardian is continuously present on the property. With the parent in the vicinity, there is a belief that the facility can provide less oversight, as the parent is nearby, and at times within view.
Second, childcare facilities at the gym are designed for short-term care. Parents are expected to exercise for an hour or two and then return for the child. These centers are not designed for long-term, ongoing care. Again, this leads to the impression that less oversight is needed.
Together, these reasons cause state and local agencies and organization to be less attentive to gym daycares and similar facilities, such as drop-off daycares in department stores and shopping malls. It is a misconception that the risk of a childcare injury or accident is smaller because of the proximity of the parent to the facility and the limited time the parent is absent. On the contrary, injuries do occur at childcare facilities on a regular basis, irrespective of location and other factors.
Involved in a Child Care Injury?
If your child was injured at a gym daycare, or any other childcare facility, these injuries could be compensable. The determination of damages and recovery in these cases is often made irrespective of the facilities’ licensure or the level of oversight by Florida Department of Families and Children. What matters is how your child was injured and whether the facility was negligent in providing care. If an employee or staff member of the daycare was negligent, you could file a personal injury claim on your child’s behalf.
Child personal injury lawyers, such as the experienced attorneys at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers, can assess the circumstances of a child’s injury and assist with filing a child personal injury claim. To schedule a confidential and complimentary initial consultation, call 1-866-597-4529, contact our Miami, Florida office locally at (305)441-0440, or reach us digitally at [email protected] or on SKYPE.