Touchy Question About Accidents...

Updated on August 03, 2010
S.M. asks from Lakeside, CA
7 answers

I don't have a clue how to go about researching something I've wanted to research for years. As a caregiver I get sickened when I hear about a child that gets seriously hurt or even killed in a daycare, be it home or center or nanny situation. But I get even more sick when seeing how many people jump on band wagons to make higher/tougher laws and standards and make all sorts of rules that will supposedly make children safer in daycare. In the end I don't think it helps and the focus is taken off of ALL caregivers which includes family and extended family and friends. I'm not certain. But I've always believed that according to my very own informal watching of the news, stories from daycare providers, stats from my daycare aquaintences, and some things I read about stats on childhood drownings.... I believe that children are much more often hurt on the nights and weekends when they are home with their parents, family, and or siblings. It's not that this excuses providers from being vigilant of course. But I believe that providers need to band together to lobby for reasonable laws that don't make our jobs harder due to the negligence of a few and that parents and family members need to be held to a much higher standard as well.

So specifically my question is... If your child has been hurt to the point of needing stitches, breaking something, needing their stomach pumped etc... has this been at home or while in someone elses care?

I will start off this by saying that in 24 years of daycare I've had no daycare children needing acute care and only a few minor accidents. One child was konked in the head by another resulting in stiches which was done after his mothers shift. Also one child caught himself by his hand when he fell off a seat only 12 inches off the ground and managed to get a hairline crack in the elbow. The child wasn't even in a lot of pain and the crack was discovered days later. Outside of that, any other accident for me was with my own children. One of my girls broke her arm and 2 of them have had stiches 3 times for one girl and 2 times for another. I definitely have been more lax with my own children due to the fact that they have been allowed out of my sight more, in their rooms etc.

In 25 year s of parenting and 24 years of daycare with literally a few hundred children spread out on 7days/24hours/363days per year, I think my stats are actually pretty normal for long time daycare providers. However, through the years I've had kids come in with casts from the weekends, repeated stitches on various parts of their bodies, stories of stomach pumping on the weekends, elbows yanked out of joint, babies falling off of couches and beds getting broken arms, teeth being knocked out, and seriously, some families have had several of these accidents. I had one child come to me once with a body cast for the first 6 months he was with me. I've had kids come to me again and again on Monday after bites from their families dogs. One child was bit repeatedly by the same dog and the parents wouldn't let it go. I turned them in to CPS because of the dog and they didn't do a thing.

I once read an article about drowning that said that children actually drowned more often when their parents were in charge and less often when their older siblings were in charge. The siblings were so scared of being responsible for the loss of a sibling and the loss of their parents love, that they were more vigilent. I wonder if daycare providers aren't naturally more vigilent than family because they are afraid of losing their livelihoods.

Watching the news, it seems that many of the children that are seriously hurt and killed are often killed in licensed facilities and often it seems more often licensed vs unlicensed. And yet people harp about getting everyone licensed as if that's going to somehow keep all children safe. How safe are they going to be when they spend the day with someone that watches their every move and then they go home at the end of the day and they are allowed to run the house with little to no real structure and often playing outside unsupervised?

As sad as it is, it seems that children dying in hot cars often die with their own parents and friends of families, but also some caregiving situations have happened as well. To me those are the MOST tragic along with children being run over. RUN OVER?! These are horrible, horrible accidents. Remember the child that died by getting into a front loading washing machine and her brother turned it on? You know, my daycare kids are never, but never left alone or out of my ear shot and if it gets quiet I'm running instantly to check.

Am I a hopeless positive thinker and just WANT for my profession to be as safe as I really think that it is? I don't really think I'm being naive. I want to find a way to really check these stats but have no idea where to start. I think someone needs to do a huge story covering just how wonderful daycare is for a change instead of doing all these stories meant to frighten parents away from daycare!

I really don't mean this in a negative or derrogatory way towards parents. No one understands more than me how fast things can go awry. Anyone that knows me though would testify to the fact that I'm PARANOID and take tons of precautions and I think all people should!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

I wanted to thank everyone for their thoughs. Debi, I wanted especially to say that I thought you wrote especially thoughtful on the subject and I agree with you for the most part. However, I disagree only in part. There are a great many people, the majority maybe, that think providers are not or should not be allowed to take care of their house or home on the clock so to speak. I suppose that I would agree with that for the providers that are only open about 45-55 total hours in the week and if they keep more than 5 children + their own. If they do that and charge enough to treat their daycare like any other job, then they should limit the distractions.

However, that's just not the reality of many providers today. Many providers have to be open from 5-6 am until 6-7 pm Mon-Friday and then pick up one or two nights per week to offer a parents night out. After the many costs associated with offering childcare, the long hours are a must to make ends meet. I don't think many people have it in them to work 12-14 hour days and then still run their errands and clean their whole house on top of it.

In all the years I've run the daycare no child has ever been hurt because I was doing laundry. I also believe that sweeping must be done many times per day in EVERY home. It's the only way to keep close tabs on the possible choke hazards babies might get into. I believe it's a must for every home to sweep and mop the floors during nap time. This is the only way that the babies will be able to play on the floor in a clean environment. My floors are swept at least 3-5 times daily and mopped most every single day and spot cleaned daily.

Add to these other requirements the many times per day a baby puts something in their mouth, some child touches the door knobs with dirty hands, and the dishes the children dirty for meals, and these items can't wait until the end of the day. At least, in my opinion they should not. I would rather get the kids to help me by letting them play in a light soapy/bleach water solution with all their plastic toys than to just not get to it often enough. After all, kids don't wait until the last few minutes of the day to do gross things. They do these things ALL the time.

Then there are people like myself. I prefer to keep 4 children round the clock so that everytime one child leaves, another may come in. It's a small group that is much easier to handle and much more financially doable. I am open 7 days per week, 24 hours per day, and I guarantee you that most caregivers would never earn enough money to hire a housekeeper. I've tried often through the years. But I just can't find it in the budget to do so.

Then there is the laundry. I do daycare laundry often so that the kids have plenty of clean blankets. My kids like to play dress up and it needs laundered. They also like to keep extra clothes around to put on their dolls. I do laundry daily and I'm not staying up late to do it. I put one in morning, during nap, and at the end of the day. It doesn't hurt anyone and I have my ways of handling these things safely.

This really IS my point. Most providers have much experience handling the things that come up. We are usually much better at it than the average young parent. That's just because we have had years to build up our systems and ways of doing things. But then there are young providers and they are the ones that need monitored more often I suppose.

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

In younger children that I know, the accident has happened with family. At the time my son (4) threw a rock and hit my friend's daughter (3) resulting in one staple. Both my sons have chipped their front teeth in front of my husband and I. I fell down the stairs with my baby brother many years ago, he wasn't hurt though. My sister (2) had dropped a bowling ball on her thumb in front of my parents resulting in a broken thumb. A friend's son (3) fell off a slide and broke his arm with his aunt.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I used to run an inhome childcare and I can say that yes, parents are more lax with their own children b/c they're "yours" and you can't put them in a bubble. Accidents happen whether they are in daycare or not. The only injuries I've had at my house when I was watching children was a bruised elbow, a bruised face from a trip in the yard, and a few bites from my daughter's "biting" phase. My own kids have had bruises, stitches, and a busted lip. My daughter broke her arm while at a friend's house. When you are caring for other's kids, you MUST be more vigilant and keep a tighter rein on the kids. I had all the kids in one room while I watched them, but I don't do that with my own kids. They go play outside, in their rooms, etc. I don't think it makes any parent bad, as all kids get hurt whether they are with you or with a caretaker.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

<< If your child has been hurt to the point of needing stitches, breaking something, needing their stomach pumped etc... has this been at home or while in someone elses care? >>
Hi Suzi,
When my oldest was almost 3 years old, she did need to get stitches from an accident that happened at my daycare provider's home. My child had a bathroom accident, d/c provider was giving her a quickie shower and my daughter bent down and hit her chin on the soapdish.
I didn't think badly or blame my d/c provider because this was an accident that could have happened in my home. We had a soapdish in our tub too! The only thing I'd have been angry about would have been an accident that could not possibly have happened at our home because it happened due to not being careful or safe in a way that the provider obviously should have been.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

my son had stiches once in my care. he caught his hand on a dishwaher waiting to be put in. I had one day care I took him to that I picked my son up with the whole side of his face bruised and it was a liscensed day care. he also chipped a tooth while riding his bike in hours he was with me. unless you know the child is accident prone like my youngest I would turn these children in to the cps.

my youngest sons day care workers knew he was accident prone and I did too. so when he got a bruise at day care he was learning to walk they told me how he got it and I guessed he fell into the chair and he had fell out of the chair and my son loved to jump out of chairs and sofas so it made sense to me and I didn't worry about it. I think the cps takes kids away from good parents and gives bad parents a second fatal chance. there was one boy in okla years ago that he was killed by his grandpa after grandpa was given custody because mom was abusing him. they didn't do enough to protect that child. cps has warped rules. they take kids away from good parnets. it is totally backwards to me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think we tend to let our guard down more as parents than when we have someone else's child. As for licensing, if it was not required, I am sorry but we would have a bunch of kooks watching our kids. Licensing requires background checks and such. As parents we should totally check out a person that will be taking care of the most important part of our lives but it is not always accessible or easy to really get things checked out. Plus, there is a limit to how many children for licensed care. Without this license, there would be $50 kids and, I hate to say it but many providers would take as many kids as they could fit in their homes just to make the money. I also agree though that parents need to be extremely vigilant in watching the kids but we never know when something can happen.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Do you honestly ever hear anything good in the news? No, it's always about someone being shot, raped, murdered, etc. Maybe you can contact your local news station and suggest they do a story about your daycare but doubt they will do it. I wish I heard more good stories on the news but it's our sad reality. Just know that you are doing a good job and you impact lives everyday. You don't need the media to tell you that.



answers from Kansas City on

Everyone should carefully supervise any child they are responsible for, their own or someone else's. I do not let my children play outside alone or even play alone very long within our home without checking on them. It's good to hear you do the same, but not everyone does. It's that simple. There are good and bad daycare providers and good and bad parents. In my opinion, parents who would send their children to daycare in the first place are less concerned with the child's well-being than their own "fulfillment" or income, and that probably means they are less vigilant at home, too. Better things to do and whatnot.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions