We recently wrote an article about factors that increase your liability risk. We’re following up with three more things that you should pay close attention to in your business. We all know that injuries are a liability risk for child care providers. Here are some risks that might be less obvious but that can greatly increase your risk.
While transporting children can be a great service for providers to offer to their clients, it does create a liability issue. There’s a good chance that your personal auto insurance will not cover you if you get into an accident with child care children in the car. This means that all costs for injuries and automobile damages would fall to you personally. For child care centers and group daycare homes, this can pretty easily be solved by getting a commercial auto policy. However, because a commercial policy can be costly, it may not be a viable option for smaller home-based businesses. If you plan to transport children, be sure you call your auto insurance company and your professional liability insurance company to make sure you have adequate coverage. If you have no coverage for a business-related accident, you may want to consider whether offering transportation is right for you.
Not listening to your intuition
We see it so often: a parent gets upset with a provider and makes a false complaint to licensing, and the provider says they had a bad feeling about that parent from the beginning. When interviewing new parents, pay attention to their behavior and the way you feel during the interview. If the parent seems too pushy or isn’t respectful of your time or your policies, consider moving on. It can be hard to pass up business, especially when you really need the income, but if your “gut” tells you that it isn’t a good fit, you may want to wait for a family that’s better suited for your program. You’ll save yourself a headache and may even be preventing legal trouble down the line.
Proper documentation is one of the most important things you can do to protect your business. Any time a child is injured in your care, even if it’s extremely minor, record it, and have the parents sign off on it. If a child comes in with an injury from home, notate that, and have the parents sign it. Conversations with parents about any behavioral issues should be completely documented. If possible, parents should sign that as well. Are you noticing a pattern? The more you can document, the better off you’ll be if there’s ever an issue. You always want to be able to prove that you’ve done everything by the book.
If you’re already following all of these guidelines, great job! You’re ahead of the game. Lawsuits and legal problems aren’t something anyone wants to think about, but the more you pay attention to protecting your business, the better off your business will be.