You want what’s best for your child. Most daycare centers feel the same way. They open to provide a safe and caring atmosphere for children to learn and grow. Unfortunately, intentions don’t always match the outcome, and daycares that mean well can actually be negligent in their care.
You don’t want your child to spend hours each day in a negligent environment, and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of attempting to collect damages from a negligent provider who enabled your child to get hurt while they were on the clock.
You should always be on the lookout for a negligent atmosphere, and you should never be afraid to find a new daycare if any of these red flags are raised when you drop off or pick up your child.
The Staff-To-Child Ratio Is off Balance
The staff-to-child ratio is an important consideration. The rules are a little different depending on where you live and the age of the children involved, but every state has laws and regulations stating how many children there should be compared to each adult.
In general, the lower the staff-to-child ratio, the better. For example, a staff member will be able to provide your child with more one-on-one attention if the staff-to-child ratio is one to five instead of one to 15.
If you think your child requires more care and attention than the center is providing, don’t be afraid to look for a center with fewer children and more adults. It’s absolutely time to look for a new daycare if they aren’t following the staff-to-child ratio regulations where you live.
Children Have Access to Items They Shouldn’t
Items that are dangerous in your home are generally the same items that are dangerous in a daycare center. Items that should be hidden away from curious little hands include:
- Extension cords
- Space heaters
- Sharp items, like scissors
- Small office supplies, like paperclips
- Dangerous cleaning supplies
If you see any items out in the open that you would have hidden away in your own home, it’s a sign that things aren’t being picked up like they should.
This also includes children having access to dangerous areas, like offices or utility closets. These spaces should always be locked to prevent children from getting into things they shouldn’t.
Your Child Seems to Get Injured Often
It’s true that some children just seem to be more accident prone than others. Just because your child comes home with a few new scrapes or bruises doesn’t mean the providers at your child’s daycare are negligent. However, if your child seems to get injured often, or if the daycare providers have a hard time explaining how your child got injured, it might be time to look for a new place.
It doesn’t necessarily have to mean that your child is being abused either. Things, like uneven play spaces, can make your child more prone to injuries compared to other daycare centers that have padded indoor play spaces and blacktops without cracks.
Your Child Is Always Hungry or Thirsty
Kids are known for their massive appetites. There’s nothing wrong if your child is really hungry or thirsty after a long day of playing outside, but if your child is regularly ravenous when leaving the daycare center, they may not be getting enough to eat or drink during the day.
You can ask the daycare how they deal with snack times throughout the day, but don’t be afraid to start looking for another daycare center with a better snack time policy. That includes what your child is given to eat, how much they’re given to eat, and how often they are allowed to snack.
They Resist Going to Daycare in the Morning
There are a lot of reasons why a child might not want to go to daycare. Your child might be nervous about going when they aren’t used to their daycare center yet, they might resist going because they got into a fight with a friend, or they may be nervous about an activity that’s planned for the day.
If your child resists going to daycare every morning, there might be a bigger problem. Try speaking to your child to see if you can figure out what’s causing their anxiety. If they can’t articulate the issue, you might want to look for a different daycare center.
Your Child Acts Different Than They Used To
Children are very intuitive, and they can be quite sensitive. They may know something is wrong or that they don’t feel very good, but they may not be able to articulate what’s bothering them. In cases like these, it’s helpful to consider your child’s behavior carefully.
For example, if your once mild-mannered child starts acting out, or if your child used to be outgoing, but they suddenly seem to be withdrawing from friends and family, it might be a sign that their daycare is a toxic environment.
The Facility Is Messy or Unclean
Tidiness matters too! It’s true that children can be really messy, and picking up after them can be a huge chore, but that doesn’t mean the daycare center should have items strewn all across the floors and toys overflowing off of shelves. All that extra clutter can be a tripping hazard!
Cleanliness is important too, as illnesses can spread quickly in daycare centers. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff what they use to clean, how often they clean, and what surfaces they tackle on a regular basis. If you aren’t happy with their answer, look for a different daycare center that prioritizes cleanliness and sanitation of key areas.
Finding an affordable daycare that works with your schedule isn’t always easy, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from starting your search again if something isn’t right. If you see one of these signs for yourself, or something simply isn’t sitting right in your gut, it might be time to find a new daycare center for your child.