When a child is sent to school, when they’re on a field trip, or at day care, parents and carers hope their children will take care of themselves, make sensible decisions and come home safe without any bumps and bruises. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen as often as we would like, which is why we expect our children to be supervised. We trust that those who are supervising our children will do so with care, with experience and with a real desire to look after them. But what can you do if your child has been injured while someone else was supervising them? We’re going to take a look at this now:
Was your Child Adequately Supervised?
Before you can safely say that your child was or was not adequately supervised at the time of their injury, it’s important that you understand that the definition of ‘Adequate supervision’ depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. For example, a group of 14-year old children will need less supervision that a group of 4-year old children. But there may be occasions when that group of 14-year old children needs more supervision than a group of 10-year old children. The level of supervision needed can depend on many different factors, and unfortunately, there is no clear-cut concept of what adequate supervision is in American law. However, there are a few factors that can influence whether the law determines if a child had been adequately supervised.
What can Influence the Law’s Decision on Adequate Supervision?
As we have already seen, the amount of supervision that is required can depend on a child’s age, but it can also depend on the activities they are undertaking too. Other factors that can sway the law include:
- How experienced the child is at the particular activity
- The type of activity they are undertaking
- Anything that is deemed to be outside their supervisor’s control
– The experience factor
Someone who has played a sport for 2-3 years will need less supervision that someone who has never played it before
– The age factor
A four-year-old may need a lot more supervision when they’re painting a picture than a 12-year-old may.
– The type of activity
A child playing with a cuddly toy may not need as much supervision as a child who is playing baseball.
– Anything that is deemed to be outside of the supervisor’s control
Activities that take place on a field trip may need more supervision or a different kind of than those that are taking part on a playground. Children may be presented with many different types of threats on a field trip (such as injuring themselves when they step off a bus or take a tour around a factory).
What Adequate Supervision Means
The term ‘adequate supervision’ is not limited to taking steps to keep a child safe while they play sports or go on a field trip, there is much more to it than that. Day care centers, schools, and other groups need to ensure that the environment around every child is adequately supervised so threats to their well-being and safety are minimized. By threats we mean:
physical assault or bullying by other students
abduction and abuse by adults
Supervisors also need to work to eliminate dangers and threats. This may mean that they need to take a football from a child so they do not hurt others, or that they call the police should they think a child is being abused.
What exactly is negligent supervision?
So what exactly is negligent supervision? It is considered to be a failure to provide an adequate amount of supervision under the circumstances. The correct level of supervision is determined by a variety of factors as we have already seen. If a child is injured or suffers harm because a school, for example, has failed to adequately supervise them the school district could be found liable. Please read our article ‘Accidents and Injuries in the Playground’ for more information on liability.
If your child was involved in an accident or you think they have suffered harm because they were not adequately supervised, please speak to a lawyer as soon as you can.
If you are currently suffering from a personal injury and are unable to read ‘What is Negligent Supervision?’ please watch our Injury Pedia video so you can gain the Personal Injury Information and Answers you are seeking.