Choosing childcare can be scary and stressful. We have all heard horror stories about the neglect and abuse some children have been through at certain centers, and it sends a chill through our collective bones.
Most parents search for daycare through the time tested method of recommendations from friends and family. Parents will research and visit daycares, meet the staff, and sit in on classes. But the most important thing is how the daycare makes mom an dad feel. If there's something off about it that makes one parent uncomfortable, move on.
It may be a great daycare, but that daycare might not be a great fit for the family. Some daycares are run by religious groups, some are all about natural food or about structured days. Ultimately, what parents want for their kids is what will determine which daycare is the right fit.
Although the directors of the daycares get paid well, the staff who work directly with the children everyday aren't paid very well. Some daycare staff are only making minimum wage, and this low payment could mean that the level of care isn't the best it could be. So make sure to check out the teachers too and definitely sit in on some classes.
In the end, how a child reacts to being left at daycare will be a good indicator as to whether or not the parents made the right choice. As mom and dad are looking at daycares, here are some shocking things that happen in daycares that parents need to be aware of.
15 Toddler Fight Clubs
Okay This is shockingly horrific and twisted. Two women from a New Jersey Daycare ran a toddler fight club, recorded it, and posted the videos to snapchat. These women encouraged 4, 5, and 6-year-old children to beat each other up. At least 12 children were recorded shoving and hitting each other and being cheered on by daycare teachers.
Luckily, none of the children were seriously injured. The daycare workers pleaded guilty and were charged with fourth-degree child abuse. Shockingly, the punishment for this type of child abuse can range from only probation to 18 months in prison.
This is just one daycare fight club that got busted, but apparently there have been other toddler fight clubs that have popped up at daycare centers in Virginia and Delaware that were also discovered by local police.
14 Children Hurt By Window Blind Cords
This is sad but true. Many children have been injured or killed by unsafe window blinds in daycares and homes. There is a family, Nicky and Nate Walla, who posted a video of their son’s accidental window blind strangulation in their home, to make other parents and caregivers aware of the safety hazards of these cords.
Nicky Walla was recording her other children and turned around to find her son hanging from the window blind cord. She dropped the camera and the audio of the 911 call and resuscitation were captured on video.
If children are left alone and unsupervised they can grab a hold of these cords. Although many of these window blinds have been recalled or the cords have been shortened, they are still causing deaths. Just like daycares need proper gates, locks, outlet covers, safe cribs, and age appropriate toys, they also need safe window blinds.
13 Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
When Rosina D. was first looking for a daycare for her children she let them hang out and play with the other kids at a local daycare. Her daughter put a toy in her mouth and Rosina quickly removed it. Soon after, her daughter came down with hand, foot, and mouth disease. She had sores in her mouth and swallowing was painful.
The only things she could eat were watermelon and popsicles. Other children also get sores on their hands and feet. This is an all too common disease that breaks out in daycares, and once one child has it, if it is not contained, most likely a large majority of the class will have it.
So, when looking for daycares, pay extra attention to the cleanliness of the facility. There is nothing worse than having to stay home from work with a sick baby because the provider you hired to watch them while you work has a hand, foot, and mouth outbreak. Also, if you have more than one child, be prepared for the others to pick up the disease too.
12 Dangerously Low Safety Standards
Each year children die while they are in the care of a daycare provider. Some are put to sleep on their stomachs and they never wake up. Some are swaddled, left unsupervised, and suffocated by loose bedding when they roll onto their tummies. Some die of SIDS. Some are roughly handled or have accidents that later lead to death because they are not properly handled or reported to parents.
Many of the staff do not have CPR and First Aid training. It’s a good idea to ask the prospective daycare what kind of safety precautions they take and what their requirements are for First Aid and CPR. Also, do your own walk through. Be on the lookout for unsecured blind cords, cleaning chemicals, and any other safety risks that jump out at you.
Just because daycare centers receive inspections it doesn’t mean that they keep quality safety standards on a daily basis.
11 Forced Two Hour Naps
This is huge! Most daycares make the children in their care nap for two hours in a dimly lit room. They are not allowed books. They are not allowed toys. They are only allowed to lay on their mat. This is torture for a child who does not nap. Nap time is a time when many daycare centers give the staff their lunch breaks.
I believe everyone deserves a break, but keeping unwilling children stuck to mats for two hours seems a bit much. I’ve even read about some extreme cases where providers duck taped children to their mats. If you look, you can find reputable facilities that will let the children look at book or play on their mat during rest period.
Moral of the story, find out the daycare’s policy on napping and make sure it coincides with your child’s sleep patterns and personality.
10 Abuse By Caregivers
Along with verbal abuse there are also the concerns of physical abuse and neglect. All over Youtube there is video footage of frustrated daycare staff hitting, kicking, and throwing children. There are even stories of teachers falling asleep. There have been occurrences of staff leaving the young children unsupervised.
Some daycares have too many children to safely supervise due to inadequate staffing. There are occurrences of laying young babies down for a nap and failing to check on them for lengthy periods of time. Most surprisingly, not all daycare workers have background checks done.
Many children are handled roughly and parents don’t find out about it until a bodily injury has occurred. Shockingly, even after a daycare's major violations have become public, they are still not closed down. In many circumstances, parents would be left without childcare if a daycare was shut down and parents would rather leave their child at the daycare than have to scramble to find a new childcare option.
9 High Daycare Staff Turnover
Just when your little one has adjusted to their new routine of getting ready and going to daycare in the morning, and seeing their new favorite teacher, there's suddenly a new teacher taking her place. You may like the teachers that are watching your children when you pick your daycare, but that does not guarantee that those same teachers will be there a week, month, or year from now.
We all know that children need stability, but although the facility may remain the same, the staff most likely will not. Many daycare workers are underpaid and are not held to a higher level standard of education. If this is important to you, then ask the director what their standards or required education levels are for their staff.
A hidden benefit of high staff turnover is that if you hear that one of your favorite teachers is leaving, you could always snag her phone number for future babysitting. After she has left the daycare, there’s a good chance that she will give you the dirt about what goes on behind the scenes.
8 Abuse By Other Children
Biting, biting, biting, and more biting. Parents beware of the biters. Every daycare has them and it takes a lot of biting for them to get kicked out. Your kid could come home with multiple bite marks from the same child, and while the daycare assures you they are handling it, this many times means talking to the biter’s parents.
Many daycares have a biting policy so check it out. Also be ready for scratches, bruises, and reports of pushing. Sometimes children get hit by other children wielding a toy as a weapon.
Having mentioned bruises, I should remind all parents that if your baby isn’t yet mobile, they should never have bruises on them. It is common for toddlers to get banged up knees and shins, but infants should remain bruise free. If they come home from daycare with a bruise for any reason, that alone is worth looking into.
7 Staff Losing Their Cool
Those young bouncy girls who are watching your kids may look sweet, but that doesn’t mean they keep that plastered on smile for the entire day. If you do decide to put your child in daycare it’s a good idea to do an unannounced pop in visit. I have been shocked and amazed at the things that I heard when a teacher did not know that I was looking.
They are human, they lose their cool sometimes, but not all teachers verbally correct children the same way. It’s a good idea to find out what your daycare’s policy is on correcting children’s behaviors and look into the ways that they enforce this policy.
One time after I had picked up my children we were walking out of the building together when one of the newer teachers was walking in front of me barely paying any attention to the kids in her care. Once she realized they were acting out she immediately yelled at them. She then looked around to see if anyone heard her, saw me, and started speaking in a more calm and concerned voice.
6 Lice Outbreaks
Can I just say…gross! Just think of those little creepy crawlers making a home in your child’s hair and reproducing and spreading. Your kid could pick up these little critters at daycare, bring them home, infect other family members, and your home.
I don’t have experience with this, but I recently heard of a lice breakout in a local school and it made my skin crawl. Eggs, and bugs, and itching, oh my! Just like anything else that spreads, if your child is in a daycare, there is a huge chance that your child will bring it home with them.
Many kids get illness after illness during their first year attending daycare, so if you are choosing daycare as your childcare option, then make sure you have a lot of vacation time saved up or a list of reliable babysitters. You will need it.
5 Lack Of Exercise And Sunlight
If you visit a daycare and their playground is off limits due to construction or any other reason, this should be noted. Children need to go outdoors during the day. Children love to play and exercise outdoors and after being stuck inside all day they can get stir crazy. I have visited daycares where many of the classrooms where the children would spend a majority of their day, had no windows or sunlight.
Imagine how you would feel being stuck inside all day with no sunlight. It’s a good idea to find out how much outdoor play time the children are getting. The other thing to think of is what the outdoor play facility looks like. Is it in good shape? Is it properly enclosed? Does it look safe? The upkeep of the outdoor play area is important because even the best child care providers turn their back for a minute.
4 48 Hour Illness Rule
Many schools have a 48-hour rule that your child may not return to daycare until 48 hours after a sickness has occurred. Therefore, if you keep your child home from daycare because they threw up this morning, be prepared to keep them home a second day, even if they just ate something that didn’t sit right with them.
If you use the word, “fever,” don’t bring them back to daycare for 48 hours. Some parents avoid sharing their child’s symptoms when calling them out of daycare so that if a child is feeling better the next day, they will be accepted. I know a parent that had a daycare teacher self-diagnose a child with impetigo.
The very same day the child was brought to the doctor, was given the clear to go back to school because the official diagnosis was a skin irritation and not impetigo. Although, the child was cleared the teacher would not let the kid back into the classroom for two days because she believed it was impetigo.
3 Parents Will Ignore The Sick Rule
Most parents have their kids in daycare for a reason, they need to work. There could be times when parents send their kids to school when they have a suspicion that they are sick. These parents may be out of vacation days because a know-it-all daycare teacher misdiagnosed her child with impetigo and refused to believe that a licensed physician proved her wrong.
These parents may have an 8am meeting that they have been preparing for. Whatever the reason, some parents send their kids to school when they know they are sick because they have to. Some parents give their kids a dose of fever reducing medicine and send them on their way.
In an ideal world, every parent could stay at home and nurture their child’s sickness from start to finish but that’s not always the case. Many times kids start feeling sick part way through the day and by this time they have spread their sickness to half of the class already.
2 Care Providers Will Play Favorites
Just as all other areas of life, we all have our favorites. Daycare staff are no different. There are the favorite kids, the easy kids, and the problem children. Favorite kids do get special treatment while problem children are many times being berated, disciplined, and left out.
I know of a woman who came early to pick up her daughter and found the staff pushing her toddler around in a baby carriage because she was acting like a baby. The staff thought this shaming was a perfectly acceptable form of correcting the child’s behavior. The favorites may get more attention and preferred treatment while the problem children may be treated like outcasts on a daily basis.
We all love our babies, even the wild ones. It’s heartbreaking to think that there are so many children who get the short end of the stick due to bias.
1 No Government Daycare License
Home day cares especially need to be checked for a license. If they are not licensed they are not being inspected at all and are only being held to the standard of the home daycare provider. Although, inspections are not done nearly enough at licensed daycares, at least licensed daycares are being held to a standard.
Thus all of your concerns about cleanliness, safety, and staffing will be monitored by someone other than you. You wouldn’t let your baby ride in a car with a driver without a license so why would you even think of leaving your child at a daycare that is operating without a license.
Many states require home daycares to have a license, so the ones that are not are operating illegally. Do we want to leave our sweet innocent children with lawbreakers?
Sources: Popsugar, Youtube, NYDailyNews