You leave your child at the daycare center and as you rush off to work the last thing on your mind is whether your child is experiencing abuse at daycare. You were recommended this daycare facility by a friend and you thought it was a good one. But daycare abuse signs aren’t always evident and your child was scared to come forward and talk about it. Maybe your child wasn’t even aware that the practices were wrong to begin with. And daycare abuse can come in many forms including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and psychological abuse of the child.
Is Your Child Being Abused at Daycare?
But how likely is it the your child is being abused at daycare? How would you be able to tell your child is being abused? Are there any warning signs of daycare abuse or red flags you should look out for? Is there anything you can do to prevent daycare abuse in the first place? How should you choose a daycare center to safeguard against daycare abuse? And what actions can you take if you suspect your child is being abused as daycare?
Child Abuse Statistics
When most people think about child abuse they automatically assume that there is some form of physical violence or physical abuse involved. However, daycare abuse can also refer to mental trauma suffered by children as well. In fact, according to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, only 18.3% of victims of child abuse are abused physically. Furthermore, only 8.3% of children are abused sexually. In the vast majority of cases, victims of child abuse are neglected, which occurs in 75% of cases.
Daycare Abuse Statistics
The above statistics on child abuse pertain to child abuse overall and not to daycare abuse. According to the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (US Health and Human Services), “less than one percent are reported to have occurred in child care settings.” However, this still amounted to 39 states reporting 5,321 abuse or neglect cases in daycare centers, according to the same report. In daycare centers the rate of physical abuse stayed mostly the same, around 14%, but the number of sexual abuse cases jumps dramatically to 21.9%. And roughly half of daycare abuse cases involved neglect.
Warning Signs of Daycare Abuse
Keeping an eye out for the warning signs of daycare abuse can help you to detect daycare abuse early. This will allow you to get your child out of a daycare center as soon as you notice any warning signs. Signs of physical abuse or sexual are usually easier to determine than signs of psychological abuse. However, there are some indications of psychological abuse that are a bit more subtle but still present.
Here are some of the common warning signs of daycare abuse to look out for:
- Physical abuse is usually indicated by any type of bruise, scratch or marking that cannot be explained otherwise. It is important to check your child regularly to ensure no markings are present.
- Sexual abuse can be seen by bruising, pain, itching, or bleeding near the genitals. Your child may also have experience bed wetting, want to wear more clothes, have curiosity about sexual activity, and experience difficulty in moving around or sitting (source).
- Pyschological abuse can be seen if the child starts behaving irregularly. You may notice your child stops communicating, doesn’t express his or her emotions or give affection, act out inappropriately, experience headaches and stomach aches for no reason and act in a manner outside of his or her age range.
- Your child may experience loss of appetite and other behavioral irregularities in all types of abuse.
It is also important to note that daycare abuse isn’t just performed by men. In fact, 40% of females are reported to be perpetrators of daycare abuse (source). Furthermore, daycare abuse perpetrators aren’t always noticeably creepy nor do they treat your child unkindly. In many cases a perpetrator will try to gain a child’s trust or offer brides to your child.
How to Protect Your Child from Daycare Abuse
Although daycare abuse is rare, it is important to know how to protect your child to ensure that it doesn’t occur in the first place. There are some activities you can do with your child and also some research you can do on the daycare center to protect your child.
Here are some ways to protect your child from daycare abuse:
- Educate your child on appropriate and inappropriate touching and behavior.
- Teach your child how to say “no” and let know them they’ll never get in trouble for anything they tell you.
- Communicate regularly with your child about what goes on at daycare.
- Follow the latest research and guidelines for how to prevent child abuse.
- Attend a child abuse prevention education class.
- Keep a close relationship with the daycare center and staff.
- Perform background checks on all staff that interacts with your child at the daycare center.
Here are some more tips for how to keep your child safe at daycare.
How to Find a Daycare Center That’s Safe
Most daycare centers are going to be perfectly fine for your child and many are extremely well-run. In fact, in most normal circumstances, children are usually safe inside a daycare center. However, you should still be on the lookout for a daycare center that is better run than others in order to find a daycare center that is more likely to be safe for your child.
Here are some qualities that a safe daycare center should exhibit (source):
- Director and staff are highly trained and have early childhood education training and knowledge.
- Age-appropriate activities are being conducted inside the daycare center.
- The daycare center is centered around the child.
- Learning is promoted as a priority at the daycare center.
- The child to staff ratio is not too high.
- Staff interacts with children in a compassionate and understanding way.
- Safety is a priority at the daycare center.
- Children are provided with appropriate meals and nutrition.
- The daycare center and staff keeps parents informed and has a good relationship with families.
Daycare Abuse Lawyer
If you suspect that your child may be a victim of daycare abuse contact Patrick Daniel Law immediately and receive a free consultation. Our attorneys are experienced trial attorneys and we will go to the courtroom with you to fight your case, if that’s what it takes. Call Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-666 or contact us online to speak to a daycare abuse attorney.