In today’s world, moms and dads are busier than ever. And it’s no wonder so many parents look to child care for help during their most hectic days. Day care enables them to finish their daily tasks knowing their child is being watched and overseen by professionals — and their children may even leave the facility learning early developmental skills.
No parent ever expects anything bad to happen to their child in day care. Unfortunately, the sad reality is there are many deaths and neglect cases that occur in these facilities.
Day cares are not heavily regulated — and it’s a real problem
New Republic explains about 40% of children under the age of five spend at least part of their week in a day care center, which can actually be quite beneficial for the child. During the first couple years of life, children need interactive environments to have better life skills as an adult, and the right child care center can help facilitate this process.
What’s most difficult, however, is that the best day care centers are expensive and difficult to secure a spot in, so many parents look toward home day care centers for help. And a 2007 survey from the National Institute of Child Health Development found only 10% of the day care centers they visited provided good care to the children.
The number of child deaths in day care is staggering
Child care doesn’t pay well, and many caretakers are not properly trained in childhood health and safety, New Republic reports. And CBS News reports out of nearly 2,000 cases of sudden infant death syndrome in 11 states, 20% of those deaths happened in day care.
Abuse and neglect occur more than you think
It’s hard to imagine your caregiver hurting your child, but it does happen. There have been countless reports of those working in day cares belittling children, physically harming them, or neglecting them.
Before you choose your day care, Care.com suggests taking a look at how many children are in the facility and whether there are enough helpers around. There should be no more than 14 kids at once in a center, and no child should be left unattended or ignored.
Germs run rampant in day care centers
Pediatrician Henry Ukpeh says when children start day care, it’s normal for them to get sick more often than usual, Today’s Parent reports. But it’s not just the common cold here and there you have to worry about. Stomach bugs, pink eye, and diseases involving the hands, feet, and mouth are all common, even in the best day care centers.
Crib deaths are far too common
Many new parents and day care employees may not know this, but babies should be put on their backs to sleep, CBS News says. Here’s where things get troubling: Many caretakers put babies on their stomachs to sleep, and then the parents put the infants on their backs when they’re home. Infants who are used to sleeping on their backs and are then switched to their stomachs are 20 times more likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome. And babies who have always slept on their stomachs are five times more likely to die of SIDS.
Parents should tell caretakers how they want their baby positioned during sleep
The best way to avoid SIDS is to directly tell the caretakers how you want your baby to sleep. As we said before, infants lying on their back is best.
Mount Nittany Health says you should even advise those working in a day care to not cover your baby with blankets for any reason. Keeping the room at a comfortable temperature and appropriately dressing your baby for potentially cold weather is much safer.
How to pick the best day care for your child
So, how do you go about picking the ideal day care situation for your child? Parents recommends visiting various day care centers and seeing how the staff interact with the children. They should be playing with the infants and paying close attention.
If you’re looking for a nanny or at-home caregiver, you should also ask them for a time commitment so your child isn’t always being taken care of by different people. And of course, don’t forget to ask questions to see if your parenting philosophy lines up with what they believe, too.
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