Florence police and Fremont County sheriffs responded to a call regarding an unresponsive infant. 9-month old Rhett Walker was pronounced dead, which has led to a civil suit of wrongful death against defendants Christine and Sean Humphrey and James and Connie Clark. Rhett was brought to her day care provider in a car seat. Defendant Christine Humphrey placed the infant in the seat in the living room. Upon returning from another room, Humphrey noticed the seat had flipped over. She then woke her husband, a Florence police sergeant, and contacted EMS. Unable to be resuscitated, Rhett had been strangled by the chest strap of the car seat.
The owners of the home were the Clarks, who knew that Humphrey ran a day care there, and are alleged to have negligently entrusted their home to her. Connie Clark had spoken to Christine Humphrey earlier that day about the day care; however, it is not confirmed that Clark was aware of Humphrey's negligent behavior. Humphrey had received multiple warnings for violating rules of the Colorado Human Services Department (CDHS) through negligent activity. The suit seeks compensation for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages as well as attorney fees.
Basic CDHS Child Care Rules
The CDHS routinely evaluates, investigates, and enforces those licensed to provide child care. Some of the basic guidelines include:
- Staffing Ratios: When eight or fewer children are present, one staff member must be working. Two staff members are required with nine or more children. For very young children, these ratios change:
- Infants up to 18 months require one staff member for five infants
- Children 12 months to 36 months require 1 to 5
- Children 2 to 3 years require 1 to 7
- Children 3 to 4 years require 1 to 8
- Each facility must maintain public liability insurance with documentation on-hand
- Maintains a requirement for background checks of child care provider staff
Examples of Child Care Negligence
A very common form of child care negligence is a failure to supervise. This fundamental violation may occur regardless of the setting. Injuries associated with children falling are quite common. Other lesser common results of supervisory failures include fire, electrocution, drowning, choking, and ingesting medication. Other less apparent failures in supervision may occur if a child becomes severely dehydrated from a failure to observe fluid intake for long periods, or a failure to dispense needed medication. Child care providers and babysitters have duty to prevent plausible harm for those under their care.
Far too often, those tasked with protecting the safety of others demonstrate negligence or indifference. Fortunately, those who have incurred injuries and losses from the actions of another party are able to pursue economic retribution. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal represents victims in matters of personal injury in Colorado. For a complimentary case evaluation, contact the office today at (303) 825-2223.