It is a hard thing to leave your child in the care of another. But parents often need to work to provide for their children, so many of parents depend upon daycare centers to take care of and educate our children while at work. Unfortunately, no matter how much care and research one puts into selecting a childcare facility, there is always a risk of child abuse. In 2007, there were 143 reported incidents of child abuse in Florida daycare centers.
Having a child abused or neglected by a caregiver is a parent’s worst nightmare. And, unfortunately, many of the victims can’t speak well enough to tell about their experiences. However, there are signs that can indicate a problem and alert a parent to potential abuse.
- Loss of appetite or unusual overeating
- Changes in sleeping such as nightmares or bedwetting
- Unusual clinginess
- Intense dislike of the caregiver
Separation anxiety is not unusual for infants and toddlers, and many children are clingy if they are having a bad day. However, a sudden change in behavior such as consistent inconsolable crying as you near the day care center may be a cause for concern, especially if coupled with other changes in behavior or other signs of abuse.
Signs of Improper Care
- The child appears tired or listless or seems uninterested or detached from the environment
- Developmental delays from lack of stimulation and affection
- The child is more demanding of the parents' attention and affection
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Diaper rash
- Vomiting or anemia
Signs of Physical Abuse
Unexplained cuts, bruises, burns or welts may be signs of physical abuse. If a child is accidentally hurt while in child care, a daycare provider should let the parent know how and when the accident occurred. There should always be a written accident report of some type.
Children do fall and bump and bang into things; however, this shouldn’t be a constant occurrence. If you notice a dramatic increase in accidents or the child isn’t normally clumsy, or the accidents are coupled with behavioral changes, then the accidents should be investigated.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Torn or stained clothing
- Abnormal walk
- Odd vaginal smell or discharge
- Pain when using the bathroom
- Potty accidents
- Pelvic or groin pain
- Possible trouble swallowing
- Knowledge of sex unusual for a child of that age
If you see any of these signs, there may be a problem and you will want to remove your child from that childcare situation immediately. You should take your child to a hospital or other healthcare provider for a physical exam. You may also want to contact a lawyer.
The Law Offices of Kim Michael Cullen, P.A. offers caring and compassionate legal services for all child injury, neglect, and abuse cases, including child sexual abuse, physical abuse, injuries due to inadequate supervision, wrongful death, negligent supervision and foster care abuse.
If you suspect or have evidence that your child is being abused while in child care, contact Cullen & Hemphill, PLC today. We can help you investigate the situation and get the help you need for your child and for your family. Call us today for a free consultation.