Recognizing the Signs of Day Care Negligence and Child Abuse

Every parent’s worst nightmare is that the people who they entrust with the care of their child end up causing their child harm. However, it seems like the news is filled with cases of child abuse in day care facilities. While you may not think of a day care as a place where a child would be abused, it does happen. As a parent or guardian, you need to be able to spot the signs that your child is being abused.

Signs an abused child may exhibit

Child abuse can have long-lasting impacts on a child’s mental health and development. There are various types of abuse that a child can experience in a day care setting. This can include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Neglect

Parents and guardians should always be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of abuse. This can include the following:

  • Drastic changes in behavior or mood swings
  • Nightmares or night terrors
  • Flinching or cowering around others
  • Unexplained physical wounds such as bruises, cuts, etc.
  • Severe anxiety or fear towards the day care facility or staff members

Signs negligent day care staff may exhibit

You do not have to rely on signs and symptoms that your child may display if they have been abused. You should also be aware of the signs that the day care and staff may be negligent in their duties. These signs can include:

  • Leaving children unattended
  • A facility that is unsafe or dirty
  • Specific staff members avoiding you
  • The facility workers being unable to explain your child’s injuries

How do abusers get away with their behavior?

We often find that child abuse goes on for months or even years before it is discovered. In many cases, this is because the abused child is too young to communicate what is happening to them. In other cases, abusers have used fear and intimidation tactics to keep their victims from telling anyone else about the abuse. Abusers often manage to convince the child that they (the child) will be the one to get in trouble if the abuse is discovered. In many cases, particularly when sexual abuse has occurred, the abuser has spent significant periods of time gaining that child’s trust.

Talk to your child

As a parent or guardian, you can talk to your child about behaviors that are not okay. This does not mean you have to get into detail with young children. Rather parents can teach children about “zones” that are off-limits to adults on their bodies. They can tell their child that it is okay to speak to them about anything that makes them uncomfortable at day care. Let your child know that you will never be mad at them for speaking to you about anything that happens to them.

What you can do in these cases

As a parent or guardian, you need to trust your instincts. If something does not feel right, remove your child from the day care immediately. If you suspect or discover that your child has been abused at their day care, consider filing a report with law enforcement and contacting an attorney. There will need to be a thorough investigation of the day care facility as well as the staff members. You may be entitled to compensation, and more importantly, those responsible need to be held accountable for their actions.