How to Identify Daycare Child Abuse
Knowing the signs can help keep kids safe at daycare
Sending a child to daycare is difficult for parents. We worry that our children will not be taken care of as well as we can. Undoubtedly, no love is like that of a parent to a child, but daycare workers are trained and should be able to take care of our children without worry. Unfortunately, daycare abuse happens.
Daycare abuse can happen in many different forms. Abuse can be emotional, physical or sexual. Neglect is also a form of child abuse. Children of all ages attend daycare, but you should be aware of both verbal and nonverbal indicators, for children who are not yet old enough to express themselves.
Identifying daycare abuse
Before sending children to daycare, establish an open line of communication about dangers. In a post from one of my Top 30 Stay at Home Mom bloggers, Scary Mommy, this situation is discussed. This post is a must-read about the necessity of talking to your children about strangers and inappropriate actions.
Talk to your children, but also be observant of their behavior. Below are lists of indicators of daycare abuse, both verbal and nonverbal.
Emotional abuse indicators
- Child becomes delayed physically, emotionally or intellectually in their development
- Habits such as rocking, or sucking on fingers begin to last longer than normal duration.
- Child seems to withdraw from normal situations
- Child becomes apathetic in nature
- Social interaction or desire for social interaction declines
- Child expresses fear of parents or caregivers
- Behavior takes on extremes— passive or aggressive
Physical abuse indicators
- Noticeable bruises and marks on the face, neck, back, buttocks, arms, thighs, ankles, abdomen, genitals, or backs of legs
- Burns or injuries in the shape of an object used to cause injury such as: bite marks, hand prints, cigarette burns, belt buckle markings, or burns from scalding liquids
- Child becomes wary of adult contact
- Behaviors take to the extremes—passive or aggressive
- Child takes on inappropriate or precocious maturity
- You notice your child has a vacant or frozen stare frequently
- Child becomes apprehensive when other children cry
- Seeking an increased amount of affection
- Children who dress themselves begin to wear clothing inappropriate of weather to cover body
Sexual abuse indicators
- Child exhibits pain, itching, bruises, swelling or bleeding around the genital area
- You notice stained or bloody underclothing
- Child demonstrates difficulty sitting or walking
- Your child develops a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- Child reports sexual abuse
- Frequent touching/fondling of genitals or masturbation
- Inappropriate sexual expression with trusted adults
- Fear of separation from parents
- Child takes on excessive bathing
- Reenactment of abuse using dolls, drawings or friends
- Child begins to neglect their appearance
- Avoidance of certain staff, relatives or friends
- Lack of involvement with peers
- Inappropriately dressed when you pick them up
- Poor hygiene from the day
- Consistently hunger immediately following daycare
- Unattended medical needs
- Recurring cases of head lice
- Fatigue or listlessness
- Whispering speech
- Expressionless face
- Begging for or hoarding food
- Reports no caretaker supervision
If you notice any of these signs, contact the daycare immediately. Do not hesitate to take legal action. The wellness of your child is not something to wait on.
If you have experienced daycare abuse, contact Ken today for a free consultation.
Photo credit: Frauenfelder