In January 2023, a 1-year-old girl suffered severe emotional, mental, and physical trauma at a St. Louis daycare center when a caregiver force-fed her to the point of choking and vomiting, slammed her onto a diaper-changing table, and demonstrated other abusive treatment toward her. After days of making up false excuses for the girl’s visible injuries, the daycare center finally came clean to her parents and admitted the truth.
Surveillance video at the daycare center captured the traumatic event and revealed that other staff members witnessed the entire incident and did nothing to intervene. An independent investigation uncovered the daycare center’s recent history of negligence when it comes to child safety, with numerous violations of the state of Missouri’s minimum standards for childcare. The father turned to our knowledgeable daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm. We worked with the family to achieve justice and secure compensation to support their young daughter’s recovery from her injuries.
How the Young Girl Suffered Abuse at a Daycare Center
Like many working parents, the father in this case placed his daughter in a daycare center that he thought he could trust. The center’s handbook assured parents that it had met or exceeded all state and local regulatory laws. But in January 2023, his worst nightmare became a reality when he picked up his 1-year-old daughter from the daycare center. Workers told him she had been sick and had a bruise on his arm. They provided him with an incident report that said she “threw up a bunch of old milk” and that the caregivers were “unsure where the bruise came from.” It also said workers gave her hugs to make her feel better.
Then scratches were found on the girl’s face and neck, indicating something worse had happened to her. The daycare center provided a second incident report which blamed the girl’s scratches on her and another child hitting each other. The child’s parents continued to press the daycare center for more information. It wasn’t until four days later that the truth came out: a caregiver had mistreated and aggressively disciplined the 1-year-old.
Video footage showed the girl being aggressively handled and inappropriately disciplined by a caregiver, who force-fed the child to the point her head was bobbing back, and she was choking and throwing up. The caregiver continued to feed her in this manner and told her “I don’t care.” The distraught child was then lifted out of the feeding chair and slammed onto a diaper-changing table, where the caregiver continued to berate the crying child. At one point, the caregiver placed the child out of view of the camera and carried a milk bottle toward the area. The child can be heard letting out a loud cry. Unfortunately, what triggered the cry is not caught on camera. The whole ordeal lasted nearly 33 minutes.
A History of Negligence and Disregard for Child Safety Laws
An independent investigation conducted by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Office of Childhood-Child Care Compliance revealed numerous daycare workers either knew about or observed the mistreatment of the infant but did not intervene, endangering the young girl’s life and potentially the lives of other children at the facility. The report also cited the center for using prohibited forms of physical punishment, using discipline techniques like humiliation, and speaking harshly to a child, punishing a child using food, and not notifying the parents immediately about the incident.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Office of Childhood-Child Care cited the daycare center for 48 safety violations from August 2019 to the January 2023 incident involving the infant. The citations ranged from failing to conduct background screenings for employees, to not obtaining emergency contacts for children, to not having an approved director on staff. The list of citations clearly shows this daycare center was failing to protect children by having unqualified and untrained staff and workers who do not follow minimum standards.
How Lawyers at The Button Law Firm Helped This Family
Following the traumatic experience, the family sought the help of our knowledgeable and compassionate daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm. We were able to guide the family through the legal avenues needed to hold the daycare center accountable for its actions.
The St. Louis daycare center had a duty to maintain a safe environment for the young girl in this case and all others in its care. Unfortunately, the daycare center did not fulfill its duty and was therefore negligent. The extensive list of failings included:
- Failing to properly supervise the children in their care,
- Failing to intervene to ensure a child’s safety,
- Failing to maintain a safe environment for children,
- Failing to employ caregivers who demonstrate competency, good judgment, and self-control,
- Failing to use discipline appropriate to the child’s level of understanding,
- Failing to complete accurate incident reports,
- Failing to adhere to the Missouri Minimum Standards for Childcare.
Because the daycare center neglected to follow standards that protect children, the young girl in this case experienced physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, fear and anxiety, and other injuries. The family had medical expenses and other significant damages to help their daughter recover from the abuse.
Our daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm fought for this family and held the daycare center accountable for the inappropriate discipline methods responsible for this girl’s trauma. The little girl and her father received monetary compensation to cover medical expenses and provide necessary resources to help the toddler heal and move forward.
How The Button Law Firm Can Help Your Family with a Daycare Injury Case
If your child was abused or neglected when caregivers used inappropriate or prohibited discipline tactics at a daycare center, contact our knowledgeable and compassionate daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm. We are experienced in working on cases involving children, like this case where a young girl was hurt because of negligent daycare workers. Our attorneys will listen to you and your child to assess the situation and determine how a daycare failed to protect your child in its care. Our attorneys at The Button Law Firm are recognized on the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers list, and we can help guide you after a traumatizing incident involving your child. We work on contingency, meaning we don’t charge you or collect any upfront fees to get started on your case. Call us at 214-699-4409, email [email protected], or fill out a contact form below for a free consultation.