Daycare providers and their workers are under moral and legal obligations to care for the children in their facility. Unfortunately, there are times these workers fail to meet the demands of their job or act negligently, leading to abuse or neglect of the child. As a parent, you never want to realize that your child is a victim, but it is important to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of improper treatment – and to know what steps to take as well.

Identifying Abuse

It can be difficult to identify abuse sometimes. Oftentimes, if a child is anxious, parents assume that it’s because they simply do not want to be apart from them – rather than the fact that they are being abused. While anxiety about going to daycare is a potential indicator that something is wrong, you should also look for other symptoms, including:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, or markings on the child
  • A child that seems frightened when around the caregiver
  • A child that suddenly shows changes in behavior or performance at school/daycare
  • A child that has repeated injuries
  • Rib fractures, long bone fractures, or bruising to children that are not walking yet
  • Sudden and unexplained nightmares, night terrors, or issues with sleep

Examples of Daycare Neglect

Neglect is not as well-recognized as daycare abuse. It is, however, a very serious problem. Some signs of daycare neglect can include:

  • A child that is unusually hungry or thirsty when they come home
  • A daycare facility with too little staff
  • A daycare that discourages or disallows drop-in visits from parents
  • A child that is withdrawn
  • A child that exhibits aggressive behavior
  • A child that comes home dirty from daycare, shows signs of staph infections or rashes in the diaper area, or is constantly received with dirty diapers
  • Unexplained bruising and cuts

What to Do if You Suspect Abuse

It can be frightening to accuse someone of neglect or abuse, especially if you cannot be certain. However, when you have mounting suspicions that your child is being abused or neglected, there are some very important steps you must take:

  1. Visit your pediatrician right away for an examination. They may be able to better spot the signs of abuse and also provide you with medical proof.
  2. Report the abuse by contacting the local licensing authority as well as the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. This will prompt a state investigation into the facility.
  3. Contact the police. If you have evidence of abuse, file a report with your local police department to start an investigation.
  4. Contact an attorney. An attorney can assist you with your daycare abuse case. Your attorney will be able to ensure proper channels are notified of the abuse or neglect as well as hold the daycare facility responsible for their actions or the actions of their employees.
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