Accidents at Daycare

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Toddler has had 2 falls at daycare

Sept 2008

My 1.5 year old has had 2 semi-serious falls at his day care. Both falls have resulted in some ugly bruising on his face. More importantly, I am concerned about my providerbAccidents at Daycares protocol to report accidents (falls) to parents and how well the children are being watched during the day. For both accidents I got no phone call. She is a full daycare with a 14:2 ratio, meaning there is a lot ok kids for only two adults to supervise. Many of those children are toddlers.

While I realize toddlers are beginner walkers I feel unsure about what to do when the play-yard has a large concrete area and the other half is woodchucks and dirt. Have any parents dealt with similar concerns? She doesnbAccidents at Daycaret seem to feel like her play-yard is an issue or that his accidents are an issue. In fact at times I donbAccidents at Daycaret know how serious she even takes accidents. Is it time to look somewhere else? I should add that besides his accidents he is very happy child and I feel is well loved within the daycare. Play or bust! Anon

Yes, I think that it is time to start looking elsewhere. A child's safety is every parent's biggest concern when letting someone else care for their child. If you do not feel that your child is safe, then I would argue that it is time to consider other options. I have my doctorate in child development and my area of expertise is matching children to a care situation, based on the child's characteristics and needs. It is my experience that when parent's start to have these deep concerns about their child's current placement, that it is time to find another place. I understand that this is complicated in that you want to limit the number of transitions for your child, etc. If you would like to talk with someone about some of these issues, I would be happy to set up a time to meet with you and tell you more about other options, as well as the kinds of issues you may encounter in transitioning your son, in order to help you make the most informed decision. Melissa

I work in a childcare that is usually at my state's ratio (it is mixed ages so I usually have 8 children from 0 to 5 under my care...with sometimes as many as 4 under age 2). Also, I am a Mother of two children ages 3 & 5, neither of whom attended any sort of full-time daycare, but did attend various Mom's day out programs and preschool programs.

As a provider and a mother, I do not make/expect calls when an accident occurs, unless it is something visible. For instance, one daughter fell off the swing at her Mom's day out program when she was 18-months and her tooth went through the skin under her lip. I got a call to tell me that she was fine, but that she had a cut under her lip. I called a mother recently when her son was pulling up, lost his balance and bonked his face on a big toy and got a bloody nose and cut his lip. In both cases, the call was made after the problem was under control and the child was calmed. I think that you should have gotten that call your child's face was bruised. I would have called you, just so that you would be able to keep your own emotions under control when seeing it (you would be prepared) so as not to make your child anxious. Ask your provider to call you if ever something happens like that again.

Accidents do happen. As a provider, you do get numb to crying, bumps, face plants, etc. that you wouldn't as a Mom to your own child. That said, I do try to let every parent know what sorts of things occurred during the day -- what they ate, how long they napped, how many diapers they went through and which were wet and which were 'poopy,' what their disposition was at varying points, the most fun interactions and of course any ouchies. Today, I told one Mom about her 18-month-olds face plant (no visible marks) and another Mom about her two-year-olds pinched finger (again no visible marks). I think that is important, especially preverbal, to let the Mom know of anything that caused stress to their child.

I am not a huge fan of the play-yard that you describe. I cannot visualize it, but I never let my kids do more than walk on cement...not play. It sounds like your child is loved there, but that doesn't mean that you can't do better... -anon

I am a nanny involved in various nanny shares. I typically only have 2 children; occasionally three. I am pretty strict about safety. I allow my kids some leeway to create their adventures, but I'm firm about many things that have big owie potential.

I feel confident that this is your first child; otherwise you would realize, as does your caregiver, that falls, bumps, and bruises are part of life. Do we try to prevent them? Of course.

Even with only two, my little people get all manner of various bruises (one in particular is especially clumsy, and he gets them more than anyone else).

There is just no way to keep kids in a bubble (nor is it fair to them to be extremely uptight and not allow them to learn). They must explore and learn how their bodies work, develop coordination and depth perception. Obviously it's unpleasant to see a big knot on someone's head, or a shiner or what-have-you. Just the other day, I was going to the bathroom and one boy ran out of the room while the other was running around the corner. Their heads collided and literally bounced off each other. One's eye has a shiner; the other had a raised pink forehead bump. Do you think I erred in judgment? I have to pee sometimes!

I'm sad when a little guy has gotten a big owie and has a good cry. I wish I could prevent everything, but part of negotiating your path on your own two feet is learning these things and experiencing many, many falls over time. Hopefully, the important parts stay intact, and hopefully the adults are preventing the least wise decisions until the kids are old enough to understand why we don't do XYZ dangerous thing.

Scratches and bruises on toddler

Aug 2003

As a first time mom, I'm not sure if I'm being paranoid or not, but would like some advice: Our 9 month old daughter has been in a family daycare for over 4 months now, and seems to absolutely adore it. Last Friday we noticed a small scratch on her shoulder, and a larger scratch/cut on her back. The daycare didn't mention anything, and when I pointed it out to them on Monday, they seemed genuinely surprised/worried. Monday night I noticed a small bruise on our daughter's leg. Now, all of these things could have totally rational reasons - she's just becoming mobile, and is likely to fall (or be caught while falling), which could lead to these, right? I just don't know if we should be looking for any specific signs to find out if there is anything going on that is strange at daycare, or if, other than mentioning that we would like to be told if something happens during the day, there is anything we can/should be requiring of our daycare? There are three caregivers, only one of which speaks fluent english, but they are all very loving, and seem overjoyed to see our daughter each day, as she does them, and I'd hate to make any accusations, or ruin the relationship in any way if I'm just being a paranoid first-time mommy! I did check the daycare out before choosing them, and they've been in business for 5+ years, with no complaints on record or anything. There are 7 other kids - 5 other families in this daycare as well. Anyway, any advice about this would be really great. Has anyone had similar experiences or worries? Thanks. (should I be?) worried mommy

You always worry about abuse or something, but I am just thinking that they are not watching her very carefully if she can get those cuts and bruises without her daycare providers even noticing! Happy or not, she isn't safe if they are giving a baby so much freedom that she can hurt herself without anyone noticing. I would certainly tell them that you want to know when things happen during the day, and pull her out if they can't explain bumps and bruises. worried too

I had similar concerns with my son in a nanny-share. I think it's part of the first-time mom experience, figuring out what is ''big enough'' to worry about. But after watching my son carefully at home for a while, I realized that my son was bumping into stuff ALL the time, and often not really reacting (e.g. not crying like I expected). If I hadn't been watching him, I would never have noticed. Now that he's a toddler, I've actually seen him fall down while running on asphalt and skin his knees to bleeding, get up without comment, and continue on running.

So my conclusions have been that (a) kids get LOTS of small injuries and (b) it's not reasonable to expect my caregiver to know the origin of every one of them (since I don't when he is with me). Also, my son has very fair skin, so bruises tend to show up more on him than they might on a darker-skinned child.

So if your child is the hardy sort, who often doesn't make a fuss when she falls or bumps herself, I wouldn't worry about the occasional small injury. I would worry more if there were very unusual injuries (injuries to the stomach/chest in a crawler, things that looked like welts or burns, bruises that were in a hand-like pattern), or certain kinds of injuries that occur very frequently (other than bumps to the forehead or knees -- which believe me, you will see a lot of). Hope this is helpful. Karen

I run a small family home daycare (6 children; 2 providers) and would say that it is very likely that she is falling due to her newfound mobility. When our kids come in the morning i do a quick checkover of them and ask parents about this or that bruise/etc. for a couple reasons; so that the parents recognize that the owie didn't happen at daycare and so that they are aware of the owie.

That said, I can think of one ocassion that a parent noticed something that I hadn't and I had no idea what had happened (it was a bruise I think). Sometimes it happens. :)

I think you would be perfectly acceptable to tell your caregiver your concerns (are you watching my child closely enough?) and ask them to be more vigilant. If it continues to be a concern (i.e. you find things on her that you KNOW didn't happen at home and the DCP has no idea how they happened) I would look elsewhere for daycare. It isn't an abusive situation, but you want someone who is more attentive to your child. Kathy