January 25, 2012,
B.H. asks from Herndon, VA on January 21, 2012
Daycare Failed to Call or Report an Incident and Child Had Broken Arm
Hi, my 13 month old had her first week in a highly recommended daycare. Her teacher is very young, but seemed nice. My mom picks her up from daycare at 4, so she isn't there too late. She noticed on Thursday she wasn't using her arm. Everything else about her was fine; playing, eating, walking, laughing. I took her to a doctor Thursday evening. She was diagnosed with "nurse maid elbow" and the dr popped her elbow back in place. I was upset and called and they admitted there was an incident where a bigger boy fell on her. Saturday morning, I notice swelling, take her back to the walk in clinic and request an X-ray...They find a broken arm!!! I am so upset. I feel like if there was an incident that resulted in a broken arm, I should have been called!! What would you do? I feel there has been neglect!
edit: My mom noticed the second she brought her home and she started playing. My daughter also had a dislocated elbow, so the dr thought that was the extent of the problem. I am changing providers and she also had a bloody lip from the incident, so yes I feel I definitely should have been notified. I feel they neglected to tell me my child was injured.
Edit: we noticed the injury the second we saw her, the dr was not adequate in the diagnosis.
T.S. answers from San Francisco on January 21, 2012
She seemed fine, so how could they possibly know her arm was broken? Even the doctor missed it!
I understand that you were upset but a daycare isn't going to consider every boo boo an "incident" or else they would be on the phone all day.
Clearly your daughter has a very high tolerance for pain, and even if the daycare had called you what difference would it have made? Your daughter was hurt and it took a few days to realize how badly. Exact same outcome either way.
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P.K. answers from New York on January 21, 2012
First of all the doctor did not even realize it was broken. Secondly, it daycare providers called every parent every time someone fell on someone
else, or tripped and knocked into another kid, they would be on the phone all day. Obviously it was not a big deal
and obviously your daughter seemed OK. You feel there has been neglect?
I do not think so. How was your daycare provider to know she had a
broken arm when doc did not even know. I think you are upset because you are probably feeling quilty about her being in daycare. Do not blame this
poor daycare provider. This could have happened if she was playing with
someone in your home. If someone fell on her or tripped into her, and she
seemed fine what would you have done. Rush her to the ER. I think not.
Things happen, that is life.
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D.K. answers from Pittsburgh on January 21, 2012
Well, neither you not the physician noticed the fracture either. You did not notice the swelling until Saturday and you report your child was otherwise acting normally. So I have trouble blaming the daycare. I have friends (he is an orthopedic surgeon, she is a veterinarian, they are both involved intelligent parents). Their little girl jumped off an 8 inch ledge and cried for a minute. Then she was fine. A day later she said the leg was sore, then fine, then sore the next day. Yup - it was fractured (saw the pediatrician, had an x-ray the next day) so the child walked on the fracture for 5 days and no one was negligent.
How could they have been hiding a broken arm from you as Acnvacwife suspects? She was with you from Thursday until Saturday and you didn't notice it?
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J.T. answers from Dallas on January 21, 2012
so sorry this happened, really, i am! kids fall ALL THE TIME, it's so hard to tell when a kid is injured vs just the typical fall... i know this first hand. my 2yo daughter broke her arm wednesday on my watch. she tumbled, nothing out of the ordinary, fussed a bit, and carried on. realized after a couple hours she wasn't really using the arm - took her to ER, she was so happy and bouncy there that i almost took her back home, as i was getting up to leave, thinking there was NO WAY anything could really be wrong, they called her name, so i went ahead and had her checked out... sure enough, it's broken! i would be upset that my child was hurt, but i bet every kid in that daycare falls down at least twice a day, it's got to be hard to report every incident to every parent... the bloody lip didn't tip your mom off the moment she picked your little girl up? and again, the physician that first saw your little girl didn't even catch the fracture, can you be 100% positive she didn't fall again? you've already pulled her out, hopefully it's a place that's a better fit for you, but kids get injured, accidents happen - if your little girl was acting normal, it's hard to say they were negligent... hope she is better very soon!
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C.T. answers from Santa Fe on January 21, 2012
Poor little thing - what a trooper! I thought I'd let you know sometimes a broken arm must not hurt as much as we imagine. Our 7 yr old son fell over on his bike in October and my husband brought him home. When he got home he said it did not hurt much anymore and instead of taking him to the ER like we were going to, we decided to wait. He also was not using his arm.The next morning he said it hurt a little but not much. We told him to take it easy and we sent him to school. I thought, well, it's probably not broken but I made a Dr. appt for that afternoon. They xrayed him and yes, it was broken (a fracture) and he got his first cast. I felt bad that we sent him to school with a broken arm! We just did not know. Anyway, perhaps the incident at the daycare did not seem like that big of a deal and perhaps your daughter did not act too upset. Kids do sometimes run into each other or fall...I'm sure it happens MANY times daily at any daycare/preschool/school. I am so sorry your daughter got hurt. I just thought I'd tell you sometimes it is hard to tell when an accident is serious or not.
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J.B. answers from Los Angeles on January 21, 2012
its not the providers fault. its not like the bone was popping out. kids fall on kids all the time. her arm was sore. if your arm is sore you dont use it either! but would you think it was broken? nope.. take a deep breath it was an accident.
my daughter at 18 months stepped in a hole and i heard a pop. she whined but would not walk on it after 6 hours so i had her xrayed. nothing showed up (she sprained it. but they told us could still be fractured so if she wasnt using it in 2 weeks bring her back. she did end up being fine though.
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L._. answers from San Diego on January 21, 2012
I just read on another website about fracture/dislocations of the elbow. They said that it usually happens when the person is falling and they put their hand out. They land on their hand and it sends force up into the elbow. This absolutely can happen from an older child falling on her. She instinctively put her hand out to stop herself. Then his weight would increase the force even more.
I hate to admit that I probably would not have called the parent either. At least, not right away. I don't know why they didn't notice that she wasn't using the arm. But maybe she was at first. By your description, she has a high tolerance for pain and is a happy girl in general.
I agree with the other poster below about how often we would have to call. I don't write up incident reports. I'd have to run off 200 at the beginning of the year! My kids trip each other, fall down, wrestle with each other, even though I do NOT allow it.
One thing that's really hard with kids her age is the way they are always under feet. They tend to wander around, follow people, and they are short and sometimes quiet. I don't like it, but I probably turn around suddenly and knock a child on their butt 3-4 times per week. It's so hard to know what to do with them. We can not keep them up in a high chair or a crib all the time. Yet, have you noticed that 25-40 years ago it would have been considered NORMAL to keep kids in playpens virtually all day long? It was the way they kept them safe. Play yards were much larger. Of course, back then we had steam heat or the big furnaces in the floor that would burn the heck out of a child that walked across them.
I'm sorry this happened to you. The fact that it happened in her first week has you totally freaked, mad at yourself for putting her there, and mistrustful. I don't blame you. I'm just giving you my perspective as a provider.
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C.Z. answers from Omaha on January 22, 2012
As a childcare provider, at the time that the boy fell on her, it may not have seemed like it was a big deal. They were most likely more concerned with her lip.
If you took her to the doctor and HE missed her broken arm, I can't really imagine that the daycare would have been able to properly diagnose her broken arm.
Kids fall down constantly. Kids get hit with flying toys. Kids fall of playground equipment. My goodness...if we called the parents or reported each time this happened, we would be writing books to each parent. I do not think that this daycare was negligent in their care for her. The fact that her teacher (according to you) is very young, may not have the knowledge to be able to spot an injury that appears to be mimimal, other than where there is clear evidence ( blood.) You didn't even know it was broken until you took her for an xray two days later and you had picture evidence. How would the daycare know if you didn't know? Neither one of you has been to medical school. And the doctor that HAS, misdiagnosed her as well. Will you be changing doctors, too?
I DO NOT think you should contact an attorney, as other posters have suggested. This situation does not warrant that outcome. It is very hard to prove negligence, for this very reason, and I think you really have to understand that this type of thing happens with kids EVERYDAY.
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