The Types of Daycare Child Abuse
By the time you enter motherhood, you’ve learned of all the unpleasantness that exists in the world. So, as a mom, protecting your child is your number one priority.
Sooner or later, the time will come for mom to go back to work; which also means it’ll be time for mom to cut that invisible umbilical cord and put her child in daycare. For some lucky folks, there’s an eager grandparent or other close family member nearby, just begging for nanny duties.
But, for most of us, it means entrusting our precious offspring into the care of relative strangers. Talk about scary!
What’s there to be scared about? Everything. Different people have different thoughts about childcare. Do you let a baby cry? Or not? Are the facility’s staff members trained and certified? Or is it just a mom, taking in extra kids to make ends meet? Fortunately, those are the type of things you can find out when you interview while shopping for daycare. But what about the things no staff member is going to volunteer information about, like abuse?
As difficult as it is to comprehend, children are abused in daycare all the time. According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, child protective service agencies across the United States received over 3.5 million reports of daycare abuse involving 6.4 million children in 2013 alone.
If daycare abuse is so prevalent, you, as a mom, may wonder what constitutes abuse. Let’s break down daycare abuse into its major categories:
- Neglect: The most common type of abuse reported was neglect. Neglect involves not meeting a child’s needs in a timely manner. This could be not giving a baby her bottle on time, letting her sit in a soiled diaper, not trying to find out why a child is crying or upset, not providing a safe environment, not monitoring a child’s health, allowing physical or emotional bullying, or not supervising children closely enough.
- Physical abuse: Physical abuse is the second most-reported type of daycare abuse. This would include rough handling, shaking, or striking a child, withholding food or care, inappropriately restraining a child, administering inappropriate first aid, or using chemical restraints. Chemical restraining is when a caregiver gives children some sort of medication to calm them down or keep them asleep. As shocking as it is, it has happened. There have been cases where caregivers gave children melatonin to get them to sleep.
- Sexual abuse: The third most common type of daycare abuse is also the most horrifying. Sexual abuse includes exposing a minor to anything sexual in nature. It could involve any kind of sex act, either performed on the child, coerced to be performed by the child on the caregiver, or provoked between two or more children. It would also include any type of inappropriate touching between child and adult or between children. Exposing a child to pornography, sexual language, sex between caregivers, genitals, and telling dirty jokes all fall under the heading of sexual abuse.
- Emotional abuse: The fourth most-reported type of abuse is one that some people, mistakenly, don’t take as seriously as other types. But emotional abuse can be every bit as damaging as other forms of abuse. This is particularly true with younger children. Emotional abuse can seriously damage a young child’s developing psyche, personality, and self-esteem. Yelling at, or verbally abusing a child, alone or in front of others; belittling a child, alone or in front of others; isolating a child from adults or other children; making fun of, or mocking, a child; ignoring or rejecting a child; and terrorizing a child are all examples of emotional daycare abuse. What’s truly frightening about emotional abuse is that it doesn’t have the tell-tale physical indicators that neglect, physical, and sexual abuse often have. Physical bruises are obvious, emotional bruises are not.
- Medical neglect: Finally, we’ve reached the type of daycare abuse that is least reported to child protective service agencies. Medical neglect usually takes one of two forms: caregiver’s failure to notice signs of illness or injury in a child and seek treatment; or failure to follow a physician or parent’s instructions regarding medication or treatment. This could include not giving a child his medication at the prescribed time or intervals, not cleaning and bandaging a cut or scrape, or failing to notice that a child has been injured or is feeling ill.
In our next blog article, we’ll discuss the signs of daycare abuse you should be on the lookout for. Until then, be vigilant as always when you drop your child off at a Phoenix daycare, and Happy Parenting!