Is Your Day Care as Safe as You Think?

by Ladyblogger on July 24, 2013

It is hard enough for parents to leave their children in the care of another person to go to work without having to hear horror stories on the news about child care facilities. Acts of negligence, poor management and training of employees, negligent upkeep of equipment, and health code violations have recently made the headlines and caused concern for parents.

Additionally, horror stories about sudden infant death rates at day care centers, sexual or physical abuse, and rising injury rates are enough to make any parent scared. Many parents have opted to pull their children from business-based child care and place them in private home child care.

One State’s Dangerous Day Cares

While this may seem like a good alternative, a recent news article published in the Minnesota Star Tribune shows that in the last ten years there have been over 700 child care violations at home based services. These violations include:

• Operator sleeping or drunk on the job
• Sex offender working as help in the center
• Overcrowding of children, creating fire hazard
• Unsafe sleep conditions
• Unsanitary conditions
• Children wandering off due to lack of supervision
• Injuries that could have been avoided.

In addition, the article stated an example of a young boy who lost 5 toes to a riding lawnmower being used on the property.

Since there are over 11,000 licensed providers, the state has openly admitted that reviewing each practitioner in a timely manner is nearly impossible. This means that the violations that are occurring could be much higher than 700.

What Can Parents Do?

When you are looking for, or currently using a day care provider, as a parent you must do the following to ensure safety for your child:

• Continue to monitor the provider – It only takes a minute or two to run a search once a week on your provider to see if any new news comes up that you should know about. One mother recently did this and discovered that the provider was recently sued for an incident that took place on the property and was never disclosed to the other parents.

• Be observant – Look around each day when you arrive and when you pick your child up. Is the area clean? Is the equipment solid looking or is it broken? Is there a smell that should not be there? These are all tell- tale signs of a problem.

• Talk to the children, even if yours is too young to talk – Children will reveal more than anyone else about what is going on in the child care center. If there is a problem, your child can communicate, even if he is too young to speak words. Does he suddenly cry excessively when you arrive at the day care? Is he unusually clingy when you attempt to leave him in the facility? Does he seem frightened or out of character? These are all ways your child may be communicating that there’s a problem at his day care.

• Stay involved – Offer to volunteer at the center on your day off or after hours. Providers will welcome the help, and this will give you a first-hand look at the surroundings.

While there can never be a 100 percent way to determine if your child is going to be safe at the provider’s business or residence, there are many things you can watch for that may signal something is not right. As a parent you must learn to observe everything and follow your instinct. Never assume that, just because they were seen as a perfect provider when you first started using their services, they will remain this way. You must continually check and recheck their standings. Your child’s safety depends on your diligence.

Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and proud mother of 7 and contributes this article as an advocate for health and safety for children. Minnesota criminal lawyer, Kevin W. Devore, at, has dedicated many years to protecting the legal rights of families who have been adversely affected by day care negligence.

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