Thousands of children suffer injuries in daycare homes and facilities across the United States every year. Although some of these injuries are simple bumps, bruises or scrapes that require simple first aid or no follow-up care at all, others are so severe that victims require emergency medical intervention. In some situations, these young children lose their lives. To help protect children from the dangers that might be lurking in child care settings, parents and caregivers should familiarize themselves with common safety concerns and how to address them. Common Safety Concerns in Daycare Settings There are a number of factors that parents and caregivers should consider to help ensure that children are as safe as possible in their daycare setting. Some of the biggest concerns include: Supervision: The lack of adequate supervision by competent adults can pose a significant threat to the safety of children. In Illinois, acceptable caregiver-to-child ratios are very specific. For children who are 14 months old or younger, for example, the ratio is one caregiver for every four children. As children grown older, the ratio changes and by the time a child reaches kindergarten age, a single provider can watch as many as 20 children. Even with ratio compliance, however, it is important to evaluate the interaction that staff members have with the children to ensure they are being adequately supervised. Basic Medical Training: Accidents can and often do happen in daycare settings. When correct first aid and CPR techniques are not performed, however, these incidents can lead to serious consequences or even fatality. It is essential that caregivers are sufficiently trained to effectively respond when emergencies happen. Illinois requires that a caregiver who is certified in the Heimlich maneuver, first aid and CPR be present at all times. In facilities where infants and newborns are cared for, all staff members must be trained about Sudden Unexpected Infant Death, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and safe sleep recommendations. When evaluating a daycare facility, parents should request to view copies of certifications and additional training. Medications and Chemicals: Accidental poisoning is one of the leading causes of serious injury and fatality among young children in the United States. Medications, cleaning supplies and other household chemicals should be kept in locked, childproof containers or cabinets. Additionally, when medications must be administered it is essential that caregivers have written authorization and instructions from a parent regarding proper dosage. Medications and other[READ MORE…]
Good samaritans are defined as individuals who render aid and assistance to individuals in the midst of emergency situations. Illinois law provides protections for individuals who offer this assistance, however, there are exceptions to the rule and not every action is protected under the law. Emergency Room Physicians The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that emergency physicians can be held liable for negligence if they are paid for their services by either the hospital or the patient. The law only shields volunteer physicians, nurses, and other licensed medical personnel only if they do not bill or receive payment of any kind for the services they provide to an injured person. Physicians can also be held liable if they initiate inappropriate actions while rendering emergency aid at the site of an accident or catastrophe. For example, a physician who reads an injured person’s medical alert bracelet indicating an allergy to aspirin prior to administering a dose of aspirin. Such blatant disregard for the person’s safety would disqualify them from protection under the Illinois Good Samaritan Act. Willful or Wanton Misconduct Willful and wanton misconduct on the part of volunteer medical personnel or private citizen rendering aid disqualifies the individual for protection under the Illinois Good Samaritan Act. For example, if a volunteer surgeon conducts a wrong-site surgery or if a volunteer nurse deliberately fails to properly clean a wound that then becomes infected. Another example of willful or wanton misconduct includes individuals who come across accidents and whose actions cause further injuries or the death of the victim. For example, if a passerby responding to an accident was smoking a cigarette even as the smell of spilled fuel permeated the air. Should that cigarette ignite the fuel and the ensuing fire burn the injured party, the “volunteer” could be held liable for their negligence. Write Off’s & Unpaid Bills A physician cannot utilize the good samaritan defense even if the patient has failed to pay their medical bill. The fact that the physician’s office sent the bill in the first place shows that their services were contracted and not volunteered. The same is true if the physician offers the patient a discount for services, or if the physician’s office writes the medical bills off as uncollectible. Individuals injured by “good samaritans” should speak with the best personal injury attorney to discuss the merits of their claim. The law allows injured parties to[READ MORE…]
Every year, more than 200,000 children between the ages of 1 and 14 are seen in emergency rooms due to playground injuries in the United States. Many of these injuries are life-altering or even deadly. To help ensure that kids stay safe at the playground, parents and caregivers should consider the following tips. Playground Supervision Adequate supervision is essential for preventing injuries at the playground. In fact, Safe Kids Worldwide reports that approximately 45 percent of serious playground injuries are associated with the lack of proper supervision. Children cannot always identify playground hazards or foresee dangerous situations by themselves, and some children tend to test their limits or show off their abilities by taking unsafe risks. Young children should always be supervised by a competent adult when playing at the playground. Play Equipment Inspection Parents and caregivers should always conduct a thorough inspection of all equipment before allowing their children to play. They should be on the lookout for broken or damaged parts, rusted areas, missing or loose guardrails, and older equipment with unsafe designs. Well-maintained, modern playground equipment is designed for safe play. Unfortunately, not all playgrounds are designed and maintained in the safest manner possible. Inspection of the Surrounding Area Areas underneath and surrounding play equipment should be inspected as well. Ground surfaces should be covered with a soft material like wood chips, mulch, or sand. They should also be free from trash, excessive toys, and other objects. Additionally, parents should make children aware of tree stumps, rocks, or other hazards that might hinder safe play. Dressing Appropriately for the Playground Parents and caregivers should ensure that their children wear appropriate clothing and shoes when headed to the playground to prevent injuries. Items such as drawstrings, scarves, purses, and necklaces can get caught on equipment and cause falls or strangulation. Additionally, dangling shoelaces, flip flops, and shoes with slick soles should be avoided. Setting Rules and Limitations It is essential for parents and caregivers to enforce safe playground rules to keep kids safe. Pushing, shoving, our crowding should be prohibited and children should avoid playing on equipment that is not age, size and ability appropriate. Being Prepared at the Playground It is a good idea for parents, caregivers, and older children to learn how to respond in the event of a playground emergency. They should also familiarize themselves with basic first aid and CPR just in case tragedy strikes.
Today’s professional athletes often spend their time performing extensive, physically demanding and dangerous activities anytime they train, practice or compete. Although their bodies are typically conditioned to withstand the demands of their sport, these athletes are not invincible. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that sports competitors and professional athletes suffer over 2,000 serious injuries per 10,000 workers each year. This places sports in the top five when it comes to occupations with the most injuries. Football: Injuries on the Field Football has long been recognized as a dangerous sport for amateurs and professional athletes alike, and despite numerous efforts to increase safety on the field, players continue to suffer catastrophic injuries every year. Official reports from the National Football League (NFL) state that within the first two weeks of the season, approximately 15 percent of professional football players have already suffered an injury. While some injuries are fairly minor and recovery is quick, others result in severe impairments, long term disabilities, and sometimes even death. Head, neck, and knee injuries are some of the most common serious injuries sustained by players, and these injuries can sometimes take victims out of the game for good. For a few, repetitive injuries sustained during years of participating in the sport can cost them their lives. A study released in 2015 revealed that out of 91 NLF players who were deceased, a disturbing 87 tested positive for a brain disease that has been linked to repetitive head trauma (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). Baseball: Diamonds in the Dust Professional baseball players often suffer severe injuries that sideline them, and sometimes their careers, as well. According to studies published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine, about 51.4 percent of Major League Baseball injuries were to the upper extremities, while 30.6 percent were to the lower extremities. Pitchers were at the highest risk of injury, accounting for about 34 percent more injuries than fielders, and they suffered a significantly higher number of injuries to the upper extremity (67 percent). Fielders, however, were more likely to suffer injuries to the lower extremity, accounting for about 47.5 percent. While professional baseball players are much less likely than football players to lose their lives while participating in practice or a game, many times their injuries are so severe that they become unable to continue their careers. Basketball: Catastrophe on the Court With teams playing demanding, 82-game[READ MORE…]
Roughly 30 million children engage in sporting activities and each year these young athletes experience millions of injuries. Approximately 775,000 children under the age of 14 visit emergency rooms for sports-related injuries each year. A further 2 million injuries and 500,000 doctors visits are needed to assist children between the ages of 14-19 with recovering from their injuries. Nationwide, nearly 1/3 of all recorded childhood injuries are caused by participation in sporting events. Playing a Dangerous Game While every sport involves the risk of injury, some sports are inherently more dangerous than others. For example, contact sports such as football, wrestling, and hockey have higher rates of injury than sports such as baseball, golf, and tennis. Basketball – Children between the ages of 5-19 suffer more than 375,000 basketball-related injuries each year. That’s equivalent to about 15% of all players within the demographic. The most common injuries are strains and sprains of the lower extremities, followed by fractures and dislocations. Of considerable concern is the fact that the number of traumatic brain injuries is increasing. From 1997 to 2007, instances of TBI increased more than 70%. Baseball – Slightly more than 100,000 children between the ages of 5 to 14 are treated in emergency rooms for baseball-related injuries each year. Common injuries include strains, sprains, and broken arms/legs. Up to 25 of players between the ages of 5 to 14 are injured each year. Since 2000, rates of elbow and shoulder injuries have risen more than 500%. Moreover, many children experience traumatic brain injury when they are struck with either the bat or the ball. The sport has one of the highest fatality rates of all sports and each year 3 to 4 children under the age of 14 die while playing the game. Cycling – Each year, 200,000 children are treated for cycling related injuries. These injuries include strains, sprains, broken bones, and severe lacerations. Use of safety equipment such as helmets and pads has helped reduce fatality rates by 92% since 1975. However, it is still considered one of the most dangerous youth sports and roughly 13 per 100,000 children are hospitalized each year with cycling related injuries. Hockey – Roughly 20,000 children between the ages of 5 and 14 are injured in hockey-related accidents each year. Common injuries include broken bones, fractures, and traumatic brain injury. Football – Between 2005 and 2014, 92 teenagers died as a result of playing High School football. These[READ MORE…]
The unfortunate and tragic events in American schools in recent years have been cause for concern to parents, teachers and students themselves. And while shootings have grabbed most of the headlines, there are other dangers that can befall our most vulnerable generation before graduation. But that’s not to say we are helpless. There are many steps parents can take to improve the odds that an attack, an accident or an illness will not happen. In Chicago, the obvious concerns are the problems of guns, gangs and bullying. No lawyer, judge or politician can unilaterally end these scourges to our educational system and our students. Just as important are strategies that parents, educators and school administrators can follow to make things safer. Here are a few: Develop incident reporting systems as well as a transparent means of reporting cumulative data for public consumption. This first step is to develop a solid understanding of the problem. Insist that districts and individual schools have crisis plans and drills. Provide literature, training and support to teachers on issues such as drugs, weapons, youth suicide, child abuse and school law. Observe and promote Safe Schools Week, which is in October. This provides a way to engage everyone in why it matters and the commitment of the school to provide a safe environment throughout the year. Other, unintentional safety issues exist in the school experience as well. On playgrounds, more than 200,000 children under age 14 are injured and require emergency treatment every year in the U.S. Preventive measures include ensuring that equipment is well maintained and that ground surfaces are soft. School staff, including and especially nurses, should be particularly attuned to symptoms of concussion. The journey to school also needs to be safe. A trend toward driving children in cars to their school may be an overzealous response and is attributed by some as a contributor to childhood obesity. If at all possible, parents can escort their children by bike or on foot and when the child is ready, allow them to walk alone if neighborhood conditions allow. Chicago’s Safe Passage program has largely been hailed a success (where it is available); Walking School Bus programs, led by a parent volunteer, are successful in many municipalities. In almost all instances, parental involvement is a fundamental component of ensuring safer schools. Attorneys might be able to lend assistance if laws are being broken, but a[READ MORE…]
Different people have varying priorities when looking for a new place to live and, more specifically, for a new home to buy. For some, it’s about the kitchen, including the newness and functionality of the appliances, countertops, cabinetry and storage. Other people need a specific number of bathrooms and bedrooms, an informal family room, a large-enough garage or an outdoor space that accommodates recreation and entertaining. People with school age children will almost always prioritize living in the district of a desirable school. But aside from features and amenities, new home shoppers should also consider the quality of the neighborhood. That should include immediately adjacent properties, as well as what’s nearby, such as a business that might produce a large volume of traffic. Some businesses, such as nightclubs, can cause noise problems for neighbors. Other factors to consider: Odor nuisances and dangers –Odors, such as those emanating from the exhaust fans of a nearby commercial establishment, might be a nuisance but not necessarily dangerous to human health. Smells from manufacturing facilities, farms and sewage treatment plants may be injurious to health and likely will depress property values. If there is or was a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory on or near the property in the past, there is a good chance toxic waste exists nearby. Sexual offenders in the vicinity – The Illinois State Police maintain the Illinois Sex Offender Information map, which can provide the names and addresses of sexual predators within five miles. Attorneys are sometimes successful at having old sex offense records expunged, but that is only after years without subsequent offenses. Environmental hazards – In most residential areas, the concerns about toxic substances in the neighborhood have to do with operating or shuttered dry cleaners, gas stations and auto shops, however landfills and superfund sites might also be in the vicinity. A home inspector is not required to know how to identify hazards off the property, however some are equipped to do so. Real estate brokers are not qualified to make this assessment but it helps to heed their warnings and seek an independent assessment by qualified technicians. Crime – A quick online search can find various crime statistic reporting sites, searchable by zip code and address, in Chicago and elsewhere. Traffic – While traffic and highway engineers can design roads for safety according to latest technologies, some neighborhoods still have higher rates of accidents. If you or[READ MORE…]
Justice Department considering investigation of Illinois residential centers over allegations of child abuse
In Illinois, disadvantaged juveniles who are in state care are often sent to a residential treatment center. The residential treatment is intended to provide help to these children who struggle with family issues, drug use, alcohol use, behavioral problems and mental health. However, an in-depth investigation into these centers by the Chicago Tribune revealed that instead of treatment, these youth are often victims of violent acts. Now the U.S. Justice Department is said to be considering an investigation into these centers over the allegations of child abuse. The months’ long investigation uncovered stories of youth who had been revictimized by those who were supposed to help them as well as by other patients. Over 1,000 reports were filed by treatment centers during 2011 and 2013 over physical assaults made on wards of the state. Additionally, the centers submitted 428 reports concerning a sexual assault on a state ward. Former residents of these facilities, now over the age of 18, recounted experiences that included physical restraints by staff, gang fighting, committing crimes, stabbings, bullying from other residents, engaging in prostitution, smoking marijuana and sexual assault including rape. The investigation also revealed that law enforcement and the Department of Child and Family Services often ignored state law concerning the age of sexual consent. As a result, many sexual abuse or assault claims were considered consensual and dismissed, exposing children to further abuse. In spite of high records of assaults, runaway youth and sexual abuse, the state continued sending juvenile wards to these facilities. To escape these violent environments hundreds of youth run away and find themselves on the streets where there are little options open to them. To support themselves, they often enter prosecution or commit crimes – anything to keep from going back to the centers. Adding to the problem is the lack of staffing and the inability of facilities to protect children. For some centers, there is a lack of concern over victims of violence and their reluctance to act encourages the abuse and assaults to continue. With the emergence of this information, the Justice Department is considering the allegations and may decide to step in. This is something that Senator Mark Kirk from Illinois is hoping for. He has already asked the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to take action and will be approaching Medicaid and asking them to cut those facilities from[READ MORE…]
While there are a few hardy souls who bike to work all winter long, spring weather brings out many more bicyclists riding along the lake front as well as in designated bike lanes on many of Chicago’s streets. Cyclists who use these lanes often tell tales of errant car divers who have failed to obey the rules. But bicyclists must also obey the rules and one that you may be unfamiliar with is, just like car drivers, it is against the law for bicyclists to use their cell phones to text or talk unless using a hands free device. The ordinance, which went into effect in this past March, fines violators $20 for their first offense, and $100 for three or more violations. Everyone agrees that automobile drivers endanger everyone around them when they talk or text while driving, but bicyclists also pose a very real threat to road safety when they clutch a cell phone while biking.
Here’s what other personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers have been talking about over the past few weeks: Jury Instruction Social Networking (Day on Torts) North Carolina: Jail Time for Uninsured Employers (Workers’ Compensation Blog) Cell Phone Use Cited in 24% of Motor Vehicle Crashes (Personal Injury and Social Security Disability blog) NFL Concussion Website (Torts Prof Blog) Members of UNC Create App to Aid in the Diagnosis of Concussions (Brain Injury Lawyer blog) The Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. You can reach the firm by calling (312) 346-8780.
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- Coping With Work-Related Head Injuries
Work-related head injuries can lead to physical, mental, and financial hardships for an employee. A ...
- How Safe is Your Child’s Daycare?
Thousands of children suffer injuries in daycare homes and facilities across the United States every...
- The Liability of “Good Samaritans” In Illinois
Good samaritans are defined as individuals who render aid and assistance to individuals in the midst...
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