Mum picks up child from daycare, discovers bite marks all over child's back
How can you tell if the daycare centre you engaged is safe? What are signs for you to trust them to care for your child?
As parents, we worry about leaving our children with strangers and sometimes even with family members. We have all heard so many horror stories already about daycare and learning that not all daycare teachers have our children’s best interests at heart. And we wonder, how safe are daycare centres anyway?
Recently, another horror case has emerged. Though it did not happen in Singapore, it serves as a grim reminder to parents everywhere to be cautious when it comes to choosing a daycare centre. Mum Alice Bryant has accused a daycare centre in Arizona, USA, of negligence after sharing shocking pictures of her daughter, Rosalynn’s skin.
She discovered the bite marks on the 15 month old’s back when she changed her clothes at home and said she was so shocked she started to cry.
“It’s stomach churning. I feel both angry and sad at the same time. At first I was like “are those really bite marks?” And then my brain kind of stopped thinking and I started crying.” she said.
She shared pictures on Facebook of Rosalynn’s red skin, covered in painful looking bites. The shape of a mouth is clearly visible across her back.
Alice said that it must’ve been very painful for a child to get bitten that many times and she must’ve been crying.
“You always want to protect your children and I feel like that didn’t happen. I feel like I left her with someone that didn’t look out for her at all.” she added.
Alice filed a police report for negligence and notified the Department of Health who handles daycare accreditation and the case has is still under investigation.
So far, neither department contacted her with updates yet.
Alice said that no one had called or notified her about the incident at all even when she picked her up after work.
“The fact that nobody intervened in how many minutes, maybe they were left alone, maybe they disregarded the cries, I don’t know, but it takes some time to do that kind of biting and my daughter would have been very upset.” she expressed.
All those bites happened in one day.
Just like Alice, those of us who send our children to daycare centres have the same concerns – how safe are daycare centres?
- Security is tight
You shouldn’t be able to easily walk in. There should be a buzzer system for visitors. Staff and others who regularly go in and out of the centre should use a code or key card. Once you’re inside, there should be someone at the door to greet you.
- Staff members know their safety stuff
The people who will be caring for your child should be certified in CPR and first aid. The staff should also know and follow basic safety precautions, safe sleep practices, have knowledge on allergies and know how to handle emergencies. Ask questions when doing a site recce of the daycare centre.
- The centre has child proofing done
For example, electrical outlets are covered. Shelves are secured to walls so they won’t tip over. Cords on window blinds don’t form loops that could strangle a child.
- Kids are supervised at all times
This means teachers and caregivers are attentive and involved. Little ones are not left to play on their own. There also should be enough staff members to go around. Ratios of teachers to children must be within the recommended number. In Singapore, this number is one teacher to every eight kids below the age of 30 months.
- Rules are in place when hiring staff
Before being hired, daycare workers and teachers should undergo thorough background checks. They also should be trained in how to prevent and recognise child abuse. Staff members should be able to see each other at all times – A child should never be alone with a caregiver. Look for daycare centres which offer CTTV access to parents.
- The building is toxic-free
Dangerous substances (cleaning supplies, insecticides) should be locked away and well out of reach of children. There should be no toxic gas or polluted air around the area. Do a thorough check when you visit the centre. Don’t be shy to check.
- Outdoor areas are safe
They should be fenced in and closely supervised when kids are at play. Equipment should be well maintained and the right size and type for the age of the children who will be using it.
Read also: Toddlers drugged at daycare by staff