Professional Guide to Daycare Incident Reports

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  • Running a business

Professional Guide to Daycare Incident Reports

No matter how rigid your monitoring of children in your daycare center is, accidents and injuries are inevitable. Filing a daycare incident report is one of the most important steps you must take after a child is injured.

What is a daycare incident report?

A daycare incident report is a record of an accident, injury, behavior, or other incident that requires a child to stop normal activity and receive first aid or medical attention. They also cover instances of neglect, like a child being left without proper supervision, aggressive or unusual behavior, suspicion of abuse, and errors in following through with directives from caregivers. Don’t be hesitant or cautious to generate an incident report; they’re essential documentation for your daycare business’ operations. Even when you aren’t sure a report is necessary, having one is always more beneficial than not. 

Incident reports are meant to be comprehensive in case they need to be referred back to later and provide a detailed, objective record of a situation. It may also be one report of an isolated incident or an ongoing report of a continuous issue. All additional reports related to a prior incident should be equally as thorough and include the context of the previous reports.

Why are incident reports essential?

Daycare incident reports inform parents and guardians about their child's health and safety. Incident reports also help remove ambiguity after an incident by documenting what happened, when and how the incident occurred, and the staff member responsible for taking care of the child. Incident reports should be completed as soon as possible after the event.

As a childcare provider, you’re responsible for compliance with childcare laws and regulations. Daycare incident reports help hold your business accountable. They highlight repeat issues facing your facility and allow you to analyze how situations occur to prevent them in the future. Also, if any lawsuit is filed against your daycare, proper documentation is essential for those proceedings. 

Your daycare’s purpose is to provide high-quality care to the children you serve. Because incident reports improve the effectiveness of your facility, they also improve the care you provide. Having detailed records of situations helps identify where the children’s needs aren’t being met. They also provide information that may be important for parents and caregivers, doctors, therapists, or future teachers. 

How to write a daycare incident report

Daycare incident reports need to include specific information about the incident, the child that was involved in the incident, and the action that was taken after the incident occurred.

What should be included in a daycare incident report?

A daycare incident report should include:

After the incident report is completed, it should be signed and dated by the child's parent or guardian and the employee who completed the form. The form should also note the method used to contact the child's parent or guardian, the name of the employee who contacted them, and the date and time the parent or guardian was contacted.

Storing and sharing incident reports

Procedures for storing and sharing daycare incident reports vary by state. Most states require you to maintain copies of all incident reports at your center for a certain period of time and give a copy to the child's family. Other states require you to file a copy of the incident report with the state's licensing agency. Consult your state's Department of Human Services to learn more about its legal requirements regarding record keeping.

Legal requirements of incident reporting

Laws regarding reporting daycare incidents vary by state. provides websites and phone numbers that can be used to report childcare incidents in every U.S. state and territory.

Incident reporting by state


District of Columbia

Indiana (PDF)

Louisiana (PDF)


New Hampshire (PDF)

North Carolina

North Dakota


Rhode Island (PDF)

South Carolina

South Dakota

Texas (PDF)

West Virginia

Easily create and download incident reports

The brightwheel app is an all-in-one-solution that allows you to operate your program with ease and confidence. With brightwheel, your childcare employees can quickly log incidents from their phones or tablets, allowing you to easily create and share incident reports with families and guardians.

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The Whys and Hows of  Writing Incident Reports for Childcare

How to write incident reports in childcare or writing ouch reports

how to write an accident report at daycare

Of all the documentation you wish you didn’t have to do as a childcare provider, incident reports aka ouch reports could be sitting right at the top of the list. When a parent entrusts their child in your care, it is not the most pleasant of things to report back to them that their child was injured while being under your supervision.

Though it may seem easier to ignore the minor injuries and squabbles, it's important that you document the incidents (no matter how small they are) and make sure the parents are notified about it. Instead of harming your reputation, it can, in fact, reflect positively on your accountability and competence as a childcare provider.

As long as you've assessed the risks in your setting and taken the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the children, it is normal for children to suffer minor falls and injuries as they explore their boundaries. Little bumps and scrapes are a natural part of growing up, and most parents would acknowledge the fact as well.

Why is it important to maintain incident reports in childcare? compliance.

It is a regulatory requirement in most countries to retain an up to date record of accidents and incidents along with relevant signatures. For instance, in the UK, it’s mandatory for all childcare providers to maintain incident reports, inform parents and get their signatures on the reports, no matter how small the injury.

More serious incidents would, however, require you to notify the parents immediately and inform the authorities as soon as reasonably possible. You can find more information on informing the authorities in our article on reporting accidents and incidents to Ofsted .

If you are in the U.S, the childcare laws and regulations are more diverse and would vary from one state to the other and sometimes among various regions within a state. Make sure you check with the relevant authorities to ensure what the regulations are in your region.

2.Requirement for Insurance

As a childcare provider, you could be held liable for compensation and legal costs if a child in your care has a serious accident as a result of your negligence. Maintaining accurate incident reports could be a requirement for your insurance policy depending on the cover you have opted for.

3.Identification of Potential Hazards within the Premises

Regular incidents when using a particular toy or equipment or playing in a certain area could be an indicator of a risk or hazard that has been lying low within your premises. Keeping track of the incidents can help you identify patterns and flag any source of danger which might have gone undetected in your risk assessments.

4. Help with the Diagnosis of Developmental Disorders

If a child seems to be especially prone to accidents, it could be pointing towards a developmental disorder related to spatial processing, balance or vision. Incident reports can help doctors and occupational therapists identify patterns and diagnose any underlying developmental or behavioural disorders.

What are the details to include when writing an incident report?

Depending on the legal requirement in your region, you would be required to either use an official incident reporting form or create one for yourself. You can create your own incident forms using our free customisable template for incident reports. The important details to include in your report are:

In case you use a digital platform like Cheqdin at your centre, you can record the incidents in your digital reports, notify the parents digitally and print off the document later, as required. However, regardless of how you choose to record the incident, make sure you get the signature of the parents on the document and give them a copy of the signed report at pick up.

And most importantly, remember to retain a copy of the report for your own records and keep it filed away safely with the child’s documents.

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Samplewords Forms & Documents

Child Accident Report

Child Care Accident Report

This form can be used by any preschool or daycare to document any accidents or injuries that occur with any of the children attending.

When an accident occurs, fill out the accident report accordingly, documenting information about the accident.

This form allows you to note time of the accident, how the incident occurred, first aid that was given, and when the parents were notified.

The Child Accident report form is available for download below in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Download Child Care Accident Report

Child Care Accident Report

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how to write an accident report at daycare

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Home / Blog / My Child Got Hurt At Daycare: Filing A Daycare Accident Report

My Child Got Hurt At Daycare: Filing A Daycare Accident Report

October 30, 2018 | Winters & Yonker, P.A. | Personal Injury

Nearly  1/4 of American children  under the age of 5 attend a daycare, nursery, or preschool.

Because most parents work outside of the home, they often have little choice but to entrust the care of their children to some form of organized care arrangement. But what happens when your child is injured while in the care of a childcare organization?

If your child is among the  25% of children injured while in daycare , you should know the steps of filing a daycare accident report. Beyond that, knowing your rights and what kind of compensation you’re entitled to may help ease both anger and your financial liabilities.

Keep reading to find out what you should do when your child is injured while in the care of a daycare facility.

See a Doctor

As with any injury, the first step after your  child has suffered an injury  is to seek medical attention. Before figuring out your legal rights and the steps the daycare should be taking, ensure that your child is okay. A doctor can treat immediate injuries and also inform you of any serious damage that is not visible.

After the doctor has treated the immediate injury and performed a full checkup, they’ll release your child back into your care. Upon release, they’ll provide you with both medical reports and medical bills.

If you decide to file a lawsuit, you’ll require this paperwork. Together, they’ll help your legal professional determine your appropriate compensation for pain and suffering.

The medical report will provide proof as to the extent of the injury. The medical bill is the minimum amount that you should be compensated for. However,  pain and suffering compensation  typically covers an amount beyond the immediate medical bill.

Filing a Daycare Accident Report

When your child is injured while in the care of a daycare facility, the onus isn’t on your to file a daycare accident report. In most states, there are agencies that regulate daycares.

Generally, state agencies require the daycare center to report all serious injuries. This report should be made to the family of the child as well as the agency. The extent of information and reporting required will differ from state to state.

Most daycare centers will have to notify the family in writing. This notification will include what the injury was and how it happened. You’ll be asked to sign this report.

If not included in the report already, make sure you ask for the names of everybody who was involved in the injury. This includes any other children who were involved, anybody who was on duty, and anybody who was told of the injury.

The state agency will the step in to investigate the accident. They’ll report back to the family and the daycare center with their findings. This process can take an extensive amount of time.

Keeping Notes

An important aspect of any daycare accident report is well-kept notes. When speaking with the daycare center regarding what happened, ensure you keep detailed notes. This includes the time and date of conversations you’ve had, who you’ve spoken to, as well as all details about the injury itself.

You should also be documenting your child’s injury and recovery. Try to take photographs and videos of the injury as well as the impact it’s had on your child’s life. These notes should also include a record of any and all medical treatment and the doctors who provided it.

Should you be unsatisfied with the results of the daycare accident report, these records and notes may help you in a lawsuit.

Knowing Your Rights

When you signed your child up for daycare, you most likely had to sign a waiver of liability. This release form usually covers the daycare under two circumstances.

The first part of this waiver is to allow the daycare provider to seek medical attention when their child is injured. This gives the daycare permission to get medical attention for a child without the parent’s consent and only in the case of an emergency.

The second part of this waiver may include language that releases the daycare of responsibility should a child be injured while under their care. This portion of the liability waiver tells parents that they can’t sue the daycare is their child is hurt while at the organization.

In court, this clause has proven to be useless. Parents are indeed entitled to compensation when their child is injured at a daycare center.

Requirements for a Lawsuit

Children who attend daycare are minors. As such, if you choose to follow through with a lawsuit, you represent your child and sue the daycare center on their behalf.

To move forward with a lawsuit, you have to prove negligence. This means that you must have evidence that the facility accepted responsibility for your child’s care. Furthermore, you have to prove that the daycare was negligent in providing that care.

If the daycare was negligent, they failed to provide due care to prevent a foreseeable injury. This is determined by comparing the circumstances that led to your child’s injury with a ‘normal’ daycare centers.

Knowing the State Laws

Like most laws, each state has their own regulations and codes for daycare centers. However, in most states, there is a regulating agency with the power to inspect daycare centers.

These agencies are able to enter daycare centers, inspect them for violations, and issue citations. Citations may be a result of unhygienic conditions, poor supervision, and other conditions that are unsafe or unfit for a child.

If your child was injured at a facility that is also subject to code violations, you don’t have to prove negligence in a lawsuit. The code violations themselves provide you with that evidence.

Was Your Child Injured at Daycare?

If your child was injured while in the care of a daycare facility, the first step is to seek medical attention. The onus for filing the daycare accident report falls on the institution itself. Your state agency will follow up on that report and determine what you’re entitled to.

If you’re unsatisfied with the result of the daycare accident report, you may have a case for negligence. Ensure you keep all of your records and know your rights. Then, contact our  experienced personal injury attorneys  to find out how we can help you receive the benefits your child is entitled to.

Contact the Tampa Personal Injury Law Firm of Winters & Yonker, P.A. for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker, P.A. to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Tampa today. We have five convenient locations in Florida , including Tampa , Clearwater , St. Petersburg , New Port Richey , and Lakeland .

We proudly serve Hillsborough County , Pinellas County , Pasco County , Polk County , and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Tampa Office 601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606 (813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Clearwater Office 600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764 (727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – St. Petersburg Office 111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 (727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – New Port Richey Office 5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652 (727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Lakeland Office 1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805 (863) 251-6196

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