Could Your Daycare Be Using Restraints on Children?
Most parents imagine that when they drop their children off at daycare, those children are kept happy and safe until picked up at the end of the day. Stories in the news about daycare abuse, however, give parents a right to worry that something else could be going on, and that it could be harming their child.
One type of child abuse that is often not reported is the use of restraints. And just like other types of abuse, it can cause irreparable harm to a child.
There are many problems involved with the use of restraints in daycare centers. When a child suffers any kind of harm from them, the daycare center can be held liable.
Types of Restraints
The first type of restraint, and the type most people likely think of, is physical restraints. These can be straps on a chair or bed, or even sheets or tablecloths used to hold a child down. Daycare centers may claim that they are using restraints because the child was not cooperating, or because the child became violent and threatened the safety of others.
A case in Oklahoma made national news when it was discovered that a preschool in Edmond had placed tape across the mouths and arms of children. Although the employee handbook clearly stated that restraints were never to be used on children, a teacher used the tape on children as young as 4 years old.
Chemical restraints are a lesser-known type of restraint sometimes used in daycare centers. These are medicines that are given to children, either orally or with an injection. A home daycare owner in Texas was recently found to have drugged the children in her care, possibly with Tylenol. Daycare centers may sometimes state that the child was hysterical or agitated, and needed to be sedated, but there is no excuse for giving a child medication without the parents’ consent.
Seclusion is a type of restraint that removes the child from other people. While this is sometimes needed when a child needs to be calmed down, using seclusion as a restraint is different than a teacher taking a child out into the hallway. When a child is secluded, he or she will be kept in a room alone. That door may be locked, so the child cannot leave. Any time a child is in a room, there should be at least one teacher or staff member there to supervise.
Problems with Restraints
There are many problems associated with restraints being used on children. At first, the child may become angry and work to get out of the restraints. That can cause wounds such as cuts and scratches, as well as block blood flow. If a child becomes more upset, his or her heart beat and breathing may race. A head injury while struggling to free oneself can be life-life-threatening.
Chemical restraint can also have serious consequences. Medication can cause children’s blood pressure to drop, cause problems with their heart rhythm, and interfere with their breathing. These are symptoms of serious conditions, as they indicate the child is not getting enough oxygen.
Seclusion can also cause problems. The child may attempt to injure him- or herself, and be able to do it. The time alone, and feeling shamed, can also result in behavioral problems. If done often enough or long enough, can cause a child to experience trust issues, particularly with those in authority positions.
Restraints and Liability
Daycare centers are responsible for ensuring that all children in their care are kept safe and healthy at all times. They also have a responsibility to speak to parents ahead of time about any time restraints may be used and what their policy says about restraints.
In most situations, parents need to be notified immediately before restraints are used. If the parent does not agree with the use of restraints, the daycare cannot use them. Even with a parent’s consent, a report will also need to be filed about the use of restraints and a copy given to the parents.
While parents and caregivers may agree that a child may need restraints for certain conditions or for safety, a parent must always be part of the plan. And daycare centers must be experienced and qualified enough to use the restraints in a way that will not harm the child. When they fail to do so, they can be held responsible for any injuries sustained.
If your child was restrained at daycare without your knowledge or permission, please know you are not alone. The Husband and Wife Law Team at Breyer Law Offices, P.C., has handled many of these cases. If you feel you want to speak with a Phoenix daycare abuse lawyer in a free consultation, please give us a call at (602) 267-1280.
More Info from The Husband and Wife Law Team
How Many Caregivers Should Your Daycare Have?
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse at Daycare
Signs of Child Abuse You Should Always Watch Out For
The Types of Daycare Child Abuse
Questions to Ask If You’re Considering Daycare for Your Child