Getting the Right Dose – Is Your Child Given Pills at Daycare?
Drugs given in daycares aren’t street drugs, but they can still be dangerous. Medicine given for a headache or a cold can have serious consequences for a small child. And when the right dose of prescription medication is not given to a child by daycare staff, it can also have tragic consequences.
Arizona has strict laws about who can administer drugs to children, and when they are allowed to do so. In most cases, caregivers are not allowed to administer any type of medication – but some still do. And that’s a form of daycare abuse.
Melatonin Used as a Chemical Restraint
Melatonin may seem like a harmless supplement that can reset a person’s circadian clock and help with minor conditions such as jetlag. But medicines and supplements made for adults will not work the same way in small children. Oddly enough, melatonin is at the center of two high-profile cases in the news lately.
The first happened in Oregon, at a daycare called Little Giggles. January Neatherlin, who ran the daycare, stated that parents could not pick their children up between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. because that was nap time. It was later found that during those three hours, January would work out, go to the tanning salon, and drop her own child off at school. To be able to leave the daycare, Neatherlin would drug the children with melatonin so they would sleep. Unfortunately, the children suffered injuries as a result. Some had disturbances in their nightly sleep at home, while an 11-month old was rushed to the hospital for bleeding and swelling in the head. After pleading guilty to several offenses, Neatherlin was sentenced to over 21 years in prison.
Three daycare workers in Illinois were also arrested after it was suspected they were giving the children in their care melatonin around nap time so the kids would sleep better.
Clearly, none of the parents knew their children were being drugged while at daycare. And it’s important for all parents in Arizona to know that they have a right to be informed, and to refuse treatment with any medication the daycare suggests.
Arizona Law on Medication and Daycare
It can be troubling for a parent to hear that their child was given medication while at daycare. But it can also raise a number of questions. Are daycares allowed to administer medication? Do they have to inform the parent? Without knowing the answers to these questions, it can be difficult to know what steps to take next.
Daycare centers, preschools, and other facilities that care for children are not allowed to administer medications unless they have a parent’s consent in Arizona. This consent must be on a signed form, and cannot be in an oral agreement or instructions that were given over the phone. On this signed form, or another accompanying it, parents need to clearly state the dose of medication the child needs to receive, how often the child should receive it, and any other instructions, such as if it is to be taken with food.
These forms allow daycares to administer medication when a child needs it. Many children suffer from conditions that require daily medication, such as diabetes. However, when a daycare does not have a signed form with a parent’s consent, they cannot administer any type of medication, not even ibuprofen for a headache.
Is Your Child Being Given Pills?
One of the worst things about chemical restraints is that it can be difficult for parents to realize that their child is being given pills at daycare. Often, this type of abuse won’t show the physical signs of abuse, but may appear as behavioral changes. Some of the behaviors children may show if they have been medicated are:
- Anxiety, depression, impulsiveness, and obsession
- Anger, increased temper tantrums, unstable moods
- Social awkwardness, withdrawal from social situations
- Disturbances in sleep patterns
- Inability to focus and/or concentrate
Unfortunately, when a strong drug has been given, a drug the child is allergic to, or the wrong dose of a medication, there may be physical injury as well. These could include seizures and anaphylactic shock.
Getting the Help You Need in Arizona
When a daycare center has given a child medication without a parent’s consent, or was negligent and administered the wrong dose of medication, the child may suffer physically and mentally from it, immediately and in the future. It can take time for the entire family to heal from the trauma.
Parents who suspect, or have discovered, that a daycare is using chemical restraints on their child should speak to a lawyer right away. A Phoenix daycare injury attorney at The Husband and Wife Law Team will investigate the situation, and if possible hold the daycare liable for their actions, and help families get the compensation they may be entitled to. Call us today for a free consultation at (602) 457-6222.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer