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Blog / Transporting children – Understanding the risk

Transporting children – Understanding the risk
  • Adria Rossi

  • Apr 20, 2016

Transporting children – Understanding the risk

As a child care provider, parents will most likely ask you to drop off or pick up their children. You also probably go on a few field trips and require a means of transporting the children to and from these places. But is driving children in your car a good idea? What about having parents or employees drive your enrolled children in their cars? We will discuss the risks that come with transporting children so that you can decide if it is the right choice for your child care.

Any time you have someone else's child in your care, you take on a risk. Even in well-run daycares, sometimes accidents happen. However, when you transport children in a vehicle, that risk increases greatly. According to the California Department of Public Health, motor vehicle occupant injuries are among the top five causes of both death and hospitalization among children under the age of 16. No matter how careful you are or how closely you follow transportation rules, you cannot control everything that happens around you on the road.

Remember that when children are signed in to your daycare, you are responsible for them. If a child is injured in a car accident, regardless of who is driving, you are the one who is liable. Let\s say you go on a field trip, and you have a parent help out and drive some of the children in their own car. If something happens, and a child is seriously injured, the parent of the child injured may sue the driver of the car. But they can also sue you, since you were the person responsible for the child's safety.

One of the biggest challenges child care providers face when transporting children is getting the proper insurance coverage. Personal auto policies do not cover you for business use of your vehicle. Depending on who's insuring you, transporting children may be considered business use. If you are getting paid an extra fee to pick up or drop off children, your insurance company will likely consider it business use. This means that if something were to happen while you had children in your car, you would have no coverage for damage to the cars or injuries to anyone in the vehicles. You would have to pay out of your own pocket.

If you have professional liability and accident medical insurance for your daycare, you may have some extra protection in the event of a car accident. Your enrolled children may have coverage for any medical bills resulting from the accident. You might be covered if a parent of one of these children sues you. However, this insurance policy will not cover any damage to the vehicles involved in the accident. It will also not compensate either driver for any injuries.

If transporting children is a necessary part of your business, and you can't obtain coverage from your personal auto policy, the only way to ensure that you are fully protected is to carry commercial auto insurance. This can be a great option for daycare centers or for group daycare homes with a large number of children enrolled. However, commercial auto insurance can be expensive. It may not be feasible for smaller child cares. What if you don't need to pick up or drop off children, but you do occasionally go on field trips? You may want to think about hiring a transportation service to take you and the children to and from your destination. The benefit is that transportation companies already have their own commercial auto policies. You should always double check with the company to make sure their insurance will protect you in the event of a liability claim. While this may not be affordable for all providers, it is something to consider.

If you are considering transporting your daycare children, call your insurance company to ask if you have the necessary coverage. Take time to consider the risks involved before making a decision. It is also important to regularly check your state's public health department for new vehicle safety regulations. By closely following these regulations, you will greatly reduce the chance of injury to children in your vehicle.

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