It’s completely normal for parents to worry whenever they’re separated from their children, whether it’s a minute, an hour, or longer. But when you put your child in daycare, there’s an expectation that your child will be taken care of appropriately. An unfortunate truth that has to be faced is that, though millions of children every day go to daycare without incident, abuse still does happen every single day. Here’s what you need to know about the signs of child abuse in a daycare.
Five Signs of Daycare Abuse
Every case of daycare abuse is different, but with a little vigilance, you can watch out for the most common signs that a child is being abused while under the care of others. Here are some of the biggest red flags to look out for:
- Your child is suddenly afraid. If your child becomes suddenly afraid of going to daycare for no apparent reason, shows fear of a particular employee, or is scared to be alone with a certain babysitter, it can be a sign of an abusive situation.
- Your child has unexplained injuries. Accidents happen and sometimes children take minor tumbles regularly, but any time you see marks or bruising you should be concerned, especially if it’s a repeated issue. This may also be a sign that the daycare staff aren’t appropriately supervising the children under their care, which is a separate, but big, problem.
- Your child’s bathroom habits change. He or she may suddenly be reluctant to go to the bathroom, to the point of soiling clothes or even the bed, long after successful toilet training. He or she may also complain of pain or other issues in or around the genital region.
- Your child’s behavior changes. Some children who have been sexually abused sometimes begin to suddenly display an intense or obsessive curiosity about sex or sexual matters, or display knowledge that’s age-inappropriate.
- Your child complains of problems. A common misperception is that all children will lie if they’re being mistreated, but that’s actually far from the truth. If your child mentions something inappropriate happening, listen to him or her, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Unfortunately, many children don’t display any outward signs of being abused, which can make it hard to tell what the situation really is when you’re away. Other times, it’s the “caregiver” or abuser that gives away the truth, often unintentionally. Here are some red flags to look out for when interacting with a daycare employee or babysitter:
- Poor explanations for injuries. When questioned about a bruise, bump, or scape, a caregiver should have a ready explanation that meshes with your child’s response. Changing, conflicting, or unconvincing answers should raise immediate concern, as should an inability to provide any answer about how an injury happened. Even if the caregiver wasn’t the direct cause, he or she may not have been paying attention, which may be a form of negligence.
- Excessively harsh discipline. It may be wise to be wary if your caregiver seems to be a harsh disciplinarian. Abuse frequently stems from either excessive or inappropriate punishment.
- Verbal abuse. If your caregiver constantly offers only harsh or extremely negative commentary about your child, it may be cause for concern.
If you suspect that a caregiver is abusing your child, you should take steps right away to keep your child away from the person you suspect is abusing him or her. You should take your child to a doctor or directly to the hospital, especially if you suspect sexual abuse. Note that healthcare personnel are obligated to report cases of suspected child abuse to South Carolina Child Protective Services (CPS). You can also contact the police or CPS directly. A caseworker will be assigned to help you investigate the situation and determine where to go from there.
Get Legal Help
You may wish to contact an attorney with experience dealing with child abuse injury cases. An attorney can protect your legal rights as well as help you pursue a civil case against an abuser to seek compensation for your child’s medical treatment, psychological therapy, mental anguish, and other damages.
When you’re ready to seek legal help for your child’s injuries, the Law Office of Kenneth E. Berger is here for you. Contact us by telephone, click the live chat box, or use the contact form to email us and arrange a consultation today. We proudly stand up for the rights of parents and children from the Myrtle Beach, Sumter, and Florence areas, as well as the entire state of South Carolina.