Friday, June 15, 2018

How to Spot an Abusive Daycare & Other Daycare Tips

Are you daycare shopping? Not sure what you should be looking for? Let me give you some helpful hints!

What should you expect from a daycare facility?

1.) Daily report.
Does the daycare have an app or an email system where they can send you a filled out report of what you kiddo did that day? The report should like what and when they ate, their diaper changes, their naps, and other notes such as "diaper cream needed".

2.) Child to worker ratio
Research the correct daycare worker to child ratio for your state, and make sure they are following those guidelines. This is something I really like about facilities as opposed to in-home daycares. I like the accountability of having multiple workers in one room, and that my kid isn't alone with any one person for very long.

3.) Activities.
Does the daycare include daily activities for your child? I was surprised by how much the daycare my daughter attends did even in the infant room. They always had little crafts they were doing, and working on tummy time, and other skills.

4.) Is the facility clean?
Cleanliness is important, especially for little babies. Do they allow shoes in the crawling babies room? Is your baby constantly getting sick from other babies? A few outbreaks of illness is normal and to be expected, but if your child is constantly getting sick, it's time to check to see if their play space at home or at the daycare is getting cleaned often enough.

Research Infractions

This is a very necessary and very frustrating part of looking for a daycare. It's important to know if the daycare facility has repeated failed inspections, but it's difficult to find that information. It's different for each state. I would suggest googling "daycare inspection history Ohio", or "daycare violations Iowa", etc.

How to Spot Abuse

There are obvious signs, and less obvious signs for spotting abuse in a baby.

1.) Unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts.
2.) Change in a child's behavior
3.) Not reaching milestones on time or even reverting back to not using learned skills anymore.
4.) Fear of a specific daycare worker
5.) Lack of appetite, gagging, or vomiting
6.) Fear of men or women exclusively
7.) Having advanced sexual knowledge beyond their age
8.) Night terrors
9.) Urinary tract infections
10.) Becoming less talkative

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on child abuse. Please see list of resources below.

Law firm website
What to Expect website
Family Education website
Baby Center

Thoughts on in-home daycares

Are in-home daycares inherently bad?
Would I allow my daughter to go to one?

I understand in-home daycares can be more cost effective, and for a lot of parents it is the only childcare you can afford. Personally I don't like that the child care provider is alone with the babies. I like the accountability of a facility having multiple people checking in other each other.

There are a lot of great in-home daycares out there, just do your research first.

My immediate family has had the personal experience of trusting an in-home daycare provider who said they were certified, and they were not. This person used severe physical punishment for a minor infraction on my family member who was 3-years-old at the time. I would also like to add that this person had a "licensed child care provider" sign in their yard.

I found this website to be very helpful in verifying if a child care provider is licensed.

I would also suggest asking for references. When you call the references, don't be afraid to really grill them about their experience with the provider. Did their child continue to hit their milestones on time? Did they experience chronic diaper rashes? etc...

My final piece of advice is don't trust people at face value. The worst case of abuse from a childcare provider I've ever heard of, was a manipulative little old lady who preyed on people needing cheap childcare.

The Best Solution

The dream would be for a parent staying home with the baby until they are at least 8 weeks old. I had 6 weeks maternity leave and 2 weeks short-term disability that I used. I would have loved to have six months like many European countries.

I am personally a strong advocate for paid maternity and paternity leave. If you are an advocate for maternity leave, please ask your legislatures to bring this issue to the forefront of their policies.

List of representatives who offer maternity leave to their own staff: here.

I Don't Mean to Scare You

My goal isn't to scare, but to equip you to find the best childcare you can. Good luck out there!

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