Leaving your child at a daycare is perhaps one of the most difficult decisions for parents. But when you do, you make sure that your precious little ones get the best possible care. This is why we were shocked to come across a story of toddlers drugged at daycare by the workers there.
Carers of children at a daycare in Chicago were accused of feeding melatonin-laced* gummy bears to kids to get them to sleep. On 5 March 2018, the police arrested three female workers under the charge of endangering the little ones.
Toddlers drugged at daycare
Although the day had started normally at the Kiddie Junction Daycare in Des Plaines, Illinois, it didn’t end quite the same way. Three female workers had distributed drug-laced gummy bears to the kids as they thought it may help them calm down and sleep well during nap time.
Toddlers were fed melatonin laced gummy bears. | Image: File Image
Around 12 toddlers were thought to have been drugged at daycare with allegedly melatonin-laced candies. It was the manager of the daycare centre who reportedly contacted the police and informed about them about this incident.
Toddlers drugged at daycare: What do the police say?
Des Plaines police released a statement via CBS Chicago on 5 March that said: “Allegedly, this was done in an effort to calm them down before nap time.”
Des Plaines police Cmdr. Christopher Mierzwa said: “You can’t distribute that without the parents being told. The teachers didn’t know if the child was allergic to melatonin.”
The three female workers allegedly confessed to the police that they indeed fed the toddlers with drug-laced gummy bears. They also stated that melatonin was available for purchase over-the-counter and that’s why they didn’t feel they were doing something wrong.
Toddlers drugged at daycare: How to know if there’s something wrong going on at your little one’s daycare
Keep a regular check on the daycare. | Image: file image
The incident about toddlers drugged at daycare is indeed an eyeopener for all parents. Mostly, the daycare centres our little ones go to are wonderful places with kind, nurturing staff. But at the same time, it’s good to know about warning signs that might indicate something is amiss.
Does the daycare respect your concerns?
If you have any questions or concerns about your little one’s wellbeing at a daycare, you should take it up with the workers and managers there. Be concerned if you get rude or indifferent responses.
Is there enough staff and what is the duration of their employment with the daycare?
Meet the staff and get to know them | Image: File Image
Check if there are enough workers and managers to care for your baby. Also, it may be helpful to find out for how long the staff has been working with the daycare. If you get to know of frequent changes in the staff, it may be an indication that you need to dig deeper and find out the reasons behind it.
1. Is the daycare maintaining hygiene standards?
Every time you get a chance to explore the daycare, do check on things like easy display of emergency contact numbers, regular fire drills, safety of the play area and so on.
Check if the staff is friendly | Image: File Image
These will help you understand whether the daycare is serious about safety and hygiene.
2. Does the staff maintain open communication channels with you?
Frequent or at least regular parent meetings, and sharing updates with parents are signs of good communication from a daycare. But if your daycare does not give you regular updates, you may want to check what’s going on with them.
3. Are their policies precise and well-documented?
Understand the policies of your daycare. | Image: File Image
The policies about finances, discipline and your child’s growth should be in place and in writing. If the daycare does not have such policies, or refuses to give you their policy documents, then it’s a big warning sign that this may not be a safe place for your child.
*Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the brain. It helps your body know when it’s time to sleep and wake up. Melatonin supplements are also available.
Sources: Newsweek, CBS Chicago, Family Education, WebMD
Image Source: Screengrab from CBS Chicago
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