There is no greater fear for a parent than the possibility that their child is being physically or sexually abused by a childcare provider. Especially if the child is too young to explain what is going on, you must be alert to the signs and symptoms of abuse. Even older children may not tell you what is happening out of fear. Trust your instincts and look for these signs if you suspect something is not right.
Signs of Daycare Abuse and Neglect
All working parents struggle to balance home and work. While you are at work, you need to be able to trust that your child is being well cared for at her daycare center. However, in the rush to leave work, pick up from daycare, make dinner, and get everyone bathed and to bed, you may miss important signs of daycare abuse or neglect. Knowing what to look for can make spotting abuse easier.
Your child may have been neglected at daycare if you notice the following signs:
- Unusual hunger or thirst
- Unchanged diaper
- Dirty hands and face
- Unexplained bruises, pinches, or scratches
- Unusually aggressive behavior
- Unusually withdrawn behavior
The following behaviors may indicate that your child has been physically abused at daycare:
- Sleep disturbances
- Unexplained injuries
- Flinching in response to your movements
- Reluctance to go to daycare
- Becomes aggressive with siblings or pets
- Becomes shy or withdrawn
- Becomes clingy or fearful
Sexual abuse can be even more difficult to identify. Sexual abusers are master manipulators and often threaten victims to keep them quiet. As a parent, you will have to be very tuned in to the following changes in their behavior:
- Displaying inappropriate sexual behavior or knowledge
- Unusual anxiety or fearfulness
- Sleep disturbances or nightmares
- Regression to infant-like behavior, such as bedwetting or thumb-sucking
- Painful urination or bowel movements
- Becomes unusually shy or withdrawn
- Becomes unusually angry or aggressive
Suspecting that your child has been abused is a terrifying experience. For your child’s sake, you don’t want to believe it could be true, but it is essential that you act on any suspicion you may have. Taking the child to a doctor should be your first step if the child appears to be injured. Visiting the daycare at an odd time of day may help you confirm your suspicions.
Report the Abuse and Hold the Daycare Center Accountable
If you can verify the abuse, you should report it to the police immediately. While the police will investigate and make criminal charges if necessary, you will want to contact a daycare abuse attorney. Even if the abuse was perpetrated by an individual, the owners or director of the daycare center could also be held liable for compensating your child for her injuries and pain and suffering. Contact the Button Law Firm for more information about your Dallas, Midland or Houston claim.