It’s certainly convenient that many gyms and other types of fitness facilities offer childcare as an add-on service for their members. If you’re a busy parent who struggles to find time to exercise, being able to drop your children off right inside your gym can feel like a blessing. But even the seemingly best of blessings can come with risk. Like with any childcare facility, you assume some risk when you leave your children under the care of another person, and gym childcare centers are no exception.

How Gym Childcare is Different from Other Childcare

Gym and other fitness center daycare services operate a little differently than standard daycare facilities. These services are located inside private gyms or community fitness facilities as add-ons to the primary focus of the facility, meaning that sometimes, the quality of their service is an afterthought. This can lead to childcare practices that aren’t as thorough or careful as a standard daycare’s services might be. The staff may be less qualified or receive less training, have smaller numbers in relation to the children under their care, or just provide less attentive care because the length of each child’s stay tends to be drastically shorter than it would be at a regular daycare. This can cause the staff to have more of a “babysitter” mindset than a “caretaker” mindset, which can sometimes mean less care is put into your child’s wellbeing.

This fact isn’t helped by the reality that fitness center daycares are not as routinely inspected or thoroughly regulated as other daycare facilities. This means that if they are exhibiting unlawful behavior in terms of child care and safety, there may be less opportunity for it to be discovered and addressed. That’s not to say that all fitness facility daycares are bad and should be avoided—it just means that as a parent, you must be even more diligent in making sure your child is being cared for properly and be reactive to any potential signs of abuse or neglect you notice.

How Gym Childcare is the Same as Other Childcare

Just because fitness daycare centers are less regulated doesn’t mean they’re free and clear to provide childcare in any way they see fit. They are still committing to uphold a duty of care for your children when you sign up for their services, meaning they are still legally responsible for keeping your child safe during that time. That means they can absolutely still be held accountable if your child is injured under their care.

Upholding that duty of care means gym daycare facilities should still maintain proper safety protocols for childcare, such as:

  • Ensuring the ratio of children to staff is adequate—the more children there are to watch at any one time, the more qualified staff members there should be on hand to help with care.
  • Making sure all areas, equipment, toys, and activities are safe and appropriate for the age of the children in their care. This can include ensuring that no harmful or hazardous items are accessible, that equipment and furniture used by the children is sound, and that children of the appropriate age levels are interacting with one another.
  • Ensuring that all children are fully supervised at all times, even when understaffed or when children are napping or are otherwise preoccupied.
  • Using appropriate discipline methods that are not abusive, such as excessive physical force, physical restraint, prolonged isolation, or withholding of essential basic needs like water or food.
  • Performing adequate background checks on their staff prior to hiring, especially checking for criminal activity that could impact or prohibit the person from providing safe childcare.

The same as with other types of daycare facilities, it is your right as a parent to request that proper action and level of care is followed by the facility. You can and should absolutely request to receive a tour of the facility before your children attend or ask for information about the staff’s certifications and qualifications as applicable. And if you see something or learn something that doesn’t feel right, not only should you rethink dropping your kids off at the facility but consider reporting it to the proper authorities.

What to Do if Your Child is Injured at a Gym Daycare

If you suspect that your child has been injured, abused, or neglected at your gym’s daycare facility, the first thing to do is get your child the medical care and attention they need. Then, be sure to report your suspicions directly to both the internal daycare and the gym itself to make sure it gets properly documented in both places. Hopefully once it’s been documented, the proper steps will be taken to prevent it from occurring again.

But if your child’s injuries are severe, whether it was a one-time occurrence such as a staff member abusing your child, or if the circumstances seem to be an ongoing risk to your children as well as others, you should next report the facility to the proper state social services department. The Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline number is 1-800-392-3738. If you’re located in a different state, a quick internet search will provide the correct phone number you need.

Once you’ve alerted the state of the issue with the daycare center, you can also feel free to contact the police if you feel the need is warranted. This would be relevant in cases of physical abuse or neglect as well as premises liability issues. It’s especially relevant if you plan on filing a lawsuit against the responsible party, in which case also employing the help of a professional daycare abuse attorney is recommended. The right legal team can help you investigate the cause of your child’s injuries, identify the responsible party, and build a case that helps you receive the compensation your family deserves.

Protect Your Child’s Rights Today!

As you’ve learned about the potential risks involved in gym daycare injuries, it’s crucial to be proactive in safeguarding your child’s well-being. At Finney Injury Law, we specialize in advocating for the rights of families affected by such incidents. Our experienced attorneys are here to provide support, guidance, and legal representation if your child has suffered an injury in gym daycare.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact Finney Injury Law at 314-293-4222 to schedule a consultation and take the necessary steps to ensure your child receives the justice and compensation they deserve. Your child’s safety is our priority, and we’re here to fight for their rights every step of the way.

Posted Under: Daycare Injuries

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