As a parent, nothing is more difficult than leaving your child at a daycare center and hoping that the people you pay to take care of them will handle them with care and treat them as you would.
Unfortunately 14% of children left in childcare centers are physically abused, while 21.9% are sexually abused. That is a terrifying statistic, especially for babies who can’t tell their mom and dad what’s going on. And one daycare worker experienced this abuse first-hand.
One woman who works in a daycare center took to the r/ECEprofessionals subreddit (early childhood education) to share a story that is sure to make you afraid to leave your kids with anyone.
A daycare worker reported her colleague after witnessing them hitting a baby.
She was just three weeks into her job when the woman she was partnered with slapped a 12-month-old across the face.
Unable to believe what she’d just seen, the woman asked her coworker if she’d hit the baby and, surprisingly, she said she had, justifying the violence by saying that the child had pinched her. The baby screamed and cried, clearly scared and hurt by the incident, while the guilty childcare worker begged her colleague not to tell.
Nevertheless, the upset new employee had the owner of the establishment join them in the baby room. Upon arrival, the owner asked what had happened and she relayed the details.
After writing an incident report, the woman was told to keep what happened a secret by the owner, who insisted she would take care of the matter. Once the report was signed off by the center Director, the witness kept a copy for herself.
“I learned the hard way to always have a signed copy for myself, as this I have witnessed before at a different center,” she shared.
A week went by, and no action had been taken by the owner, despite the abusive worker owning up to what she had done.
Everything was status quo and the woman was on pins and needles, watching her coworker to make sure no more kids suffered at her hands. When she inquired with the owner, she was told that the assaulter would be fired once a replacement was found.
But by the time two weeks had passed, the woman was too uncomfortable to continue. She once again approached the owner who offered a change to a different room instead of removing the dangerous employee from the facility.
That very night, the worried worker called Child Protective Services (CPS) to report the incident. The owner was surprised when an officer came knocking the next morning and shockingly denied the incident ever occurred, accusing the new hire of false reporting.
Fortunately, she had her copy of the incident report and turned it over to law enforcement. An investigation is under way, but she is wondering about the process and whether or not the abuser will be terminated and jailed.
For parents and caretakers, there are a few signs of abuse to look out for in daycares.
If you’ve vetted the childcare center and heard nothing but good things, you should know that’s not quite enough to unsure your child’s safety. Most childcare businesses have video systems and you should review your child’s activities regularly.
Unexplained bruises, scratches, or marks should never be ignored, and your child should be inspected daily. Also look out for pain, itching, or blood in your child’s private areas and behavioral changes like inappropriate behavior, bedwetting, or sudden sexual commentary.
Other signs include changes in how your little one communicates, mood swings, headaches and stomachaches, changes in appetite, and personality changes.
There is no guaranteed way to ensure that your precious baby doesn’t end up in the care of an abuser, but being vigilant and keeping a close eye can lessen the possibility of them being victimized. Ask questions and be skeptical about everything and everybody.
NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.