Putting Your Trust in Daycare Teachers Is Not Easy
Putting your trust in others isn’t always easy—especially when it comes to trusting someone to watch your child. Being separated from your child is difficult enough, and it might take time to feel comfortable about where you leave your child during the day.
Daycare has become essential in many working parents’ lives. That’s why parents do the best they can to find a safe daycare with excellent teachers—teachers who are experienced, properly trained and know how to care for young children.
All parents are trusting that whomever they decide to choose, to have the honor to receive business, is going to provide a safe environment and hire qualified employees to watch over their children. Unfortunately, there are many daycare facilities that do not adequately supervise the kids in their care. This results in serious injuries, and sometimes death, to the children they take care of.
What Can Happen When the Daycare Facility Does Not Provide Adequate Supervision?
Serious injuries can happen when kids are left alone for long periods of time. We have seen children sustain severe burns when kitchen equipment was not blocked off, and other children have dealt with broken bones, that they later needed surgery for. This often happens as a result of inappropriate playground equipment for their age group, or if children are roughhousing and the caretaker does nothing to stop it in time.
Other injuries may include brain injuries, which are a frequent result of children jumping from playground equipment that is not properly secured off, or if hard objects are thrown by kids. We’ve seen brain damage and even death as a result of suffocation from objects that choke or prevent airflow to the child, like small toys or food that has not been cut up enough.
It’s not just about watching the children-- supervision of the age levels and the types of toys children are playing with are just as important. For example, the toys provided need to match the age group of kids. Toys are often marked with their appropriate age group—and that’s usually for good reason. This means that there may be something in that box that is safe enough for a 5-year-old to use with supervision, but it’s completely inappropriate for any child under the age of 5 to use that toy.
A shockingly prevalent type of abuse that parents need to be vigilant about is sexual abuse. Daycare centers who don’t take their hiring processes seriously may not run background checks on their candidates, potentially hiring someone who has a history of sexual abuse or even sexual abuse of a minor. It’s important that parents get verification in writing that all employees have had background checks.
Supervision of the Hiring Process of Daycare Teachers
Proper supervision starts at the hiring process. Does the daycare facility have a team of caring and trained employees that are all about kids, or is it a team of underpaid, unqualified temporary workers that just need a job? The employees that are hired at a daycare facility must be screened and background checked. Is the daycare that you’re sending your kids to taking these precautions?
As mentioned above, daycare facilities must check to see whether a particular applicant is a prior offender of any sex crimes, abuse crimes, violent crimes, or any crimes at all. They need to check to see if a potential applicant has a history of violent outbursts or prior complaints that would indicate any violence or abuse to a minor. It can even involve a history of abuse to animals. You want to ensure that each applicant is thoroughly investigated prior to being hired.
In Texas, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services provides information about how employees at daycare facilities are screened. Parents can look at this and make a list of questions to ask a prospective facility. Note: if you ever notice a red flag, please report it so that the governmental authorities can make a note of it and others can find this information out prior to sending their kids there.
In our free parent guide, 10 Steps To Help Parents Choose A Safe Daycare, we share more thoughts on what a qualified employee is and the questions to ask to ensure your child will properly be taken care of.
Supervision of Incidents at A Daycare Facility
You need to know how the facility handles incidents. Do they report them to state agencies? Do they keep an internal file with them? How are they investigated? How are they handled? Do they re-train their employees? Are there any zero-tolerance violations? How many violations have they had? How many have resulted in injuries to kids?
These are the questions that parents ask me when I am looking at a case. These are the questions we search to find answers to. However, they need to be the questions the facility is keeping answers to. Many daycare facilities don't track these things and many parents never think to ask or look into them.
Supervision of Equipment Maintenance at Daycare
When a daycare facility is providing a playground or play area of any type, you want to make sure that they are properly maintaining the equipment. For example, if a cover on a screw head has come off, and a kid falls on the exposed screw head, that child can have a serious injury. That injury could have been prevented had the screw head had a plastic cover on it.
Are the bolts that are holding the slide uptight and solid? If not, any child can be on that slide when it breaks or collapses. Is that the fault of a child for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the daycare facility for inadequately maintaining their own equipment? You decide.
How Frequently Does Daycare Abuse Happen?
The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 5,321 daycare providers were perpetrators of abuse or neglect. There are many safe and responsible facilities around the United States, but there are still many bad apples out there, who end up hurting kids on a daily basis.
What Can be Done About Daycare Negligence and Abuse?
If you see abuse or neglect happening in a childcare facility, report it to the state agencies. If you’d like assistance reporting it, we can definitely help you. You can also check out our guide for parents which we explain our Lessons Learned About Making Incident Reports.
More importantly, if your child has been abused, neglected, or injured at a daycare facility, and you suspect any wrongdoing, do not let it slide. You must hold them accountable for their action or inaction.
We are firm believers in accountability and bringing awareness to a problem that is a safety hazard. We want to help you join in the fight to make daycare facilities safe and trusted again. We want to make it right for what happened to your little one, but also to prevent it from happening again to someone else.