Child Poisoning and Caregiver Liability

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. You leave your child at school, daycare, or with a trusted family member or friend, only to receive a call later in the day that there has been an accident. Each day in the United States, more than 300 children ages 0-19 are treated in the emergency room for poisoning- sadly two of these children will die.

In 2013, the National Capital Poison Center furnished consultations for 54,534 callers from the DC metro area alone- almost half of which involved children under the age of six. All kinds of things- chemicals, household cleaners, even prescription or over the counter medications- can be hazardous to your child.

Every parent wants to keep their child safe and we work diligently to keep them out of harm’s way- keeping dangerous substances out of their reach. But what happens when they are away from us and under the supervision of a trusted caregiver? Are they as safe?

Caregiver Negligence
When you leave your child in the care of another trusted adult, you expect that individual to properly care for your child. Unfortunately, this might not happen and devastating consequences, including serious injuries or death, may occur. While nothing can undo the effects of negligence, you may be able to hold the responsible party liable.

In the context of personal injury law, negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care or caution when performing any given task, which causes harm to another person. Children lack the cognizance and maturity to fully understand the hazards of their environment. Therefore, they cannot be held accountable for their actions if they get hurt. Someone else must be held responsible when a child is seriously injured or killed. The responsible party will always be an adult- a teacher, daycare worker, babysitter, grandparent, or trusted neighbor.

If the person responsible for the safety of your child turns their back for just a moment and your child is injured by ingesting a hazardous substance of any kind, your child deserves justice.

Preventing Child Poisonings
Everyday items in a home, school or daycare setting can be poisonous to children. Children are active and curious, and especially young children, may try to eat or drink anything. Even common everyday products can poison a child, such as a dishwasher pod or a button battery. To help prevent child poisonings, the following products should always be put up or locked away out of reach of children:

• Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
• Gasoline, kerosene, lamp oil
Paint and paint thinner
• Drain cleaners
• Household cleaners
• Insecticides
• Rat and mouse poisons
• Miniature batteries
• Nail polish remover
• Topical anesthetics
• Prescription or over the counter medications
• Cologne/aftershave
• Mouthwash
• Alcoholic beverages
• Tobacco products

In addition to keeping medications and toxic cleaners and chemicals in locked cabinets, they should also always be kept in their original containers. Never put a chemical or toxic cleaner in a separate container, such as a cup or plastic Tupperware – even if transporting it. Keep medications in their original bottles and avoid placing them in containers, such as medicine organizers. These medicine organizers are often easy to open and are enticing for young toddlers.

Contact Our Washington DC Child Injury Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our child injury lawyers have extensive experience representing injured children and families in Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland. If your child has been injured after ingesting a poisonous chemical or medication, we can help. If the caregiver’s negligence led to your child’s injury, you may be able to file a claim. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6645 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.

The child injury attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Maryland, and throughout Virginia.