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Posted by: OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers

Over 50% of households in the United States have two working parents. This means that many parents will rely on daycare in the early years of their children’s lives.

Unfortunately, daycare isn’t always the safe space you want it to be for your little one. Watch out for these warning signs to protect your child from abuse.

Signs of Neglect

Neglect is a form of abuse that can leave your child dirty, malnourished, and bored.

1. Increased Hunger or Thirst

If your child suddenly starts eating or drinking more than usual at home, it may be a sign they are not getting enough to eat or drink at daycare. In particular, watch out for intense hunger or thirst immediately after pickup.

2. Serious Diaper Rash

When babies or toddlers sit in wet or dirty diapers all day, it breaks down their sensitive skin. If your child has chronic diaper rash despite you keeping them dry at home, they could be sitting in the same diaper all day at daycare.

3. Withdrawn or Aggressive Behavior

When your child’s emotional needs aren’t being met at daycare, they may act out in behavioral extremes. This can manifest as withdrawn behavior or unusually aggressive actions.

Signs of Physical Abuse

Spanking, hitting, pushing, or holding a child down are all forms of physical abuse. Watch out for these signs.

4. Unwillingness to Go to Daycare

If your child fights going to daycare, it could signify that they feel unsafe there. This is particularly worrisome if they used to be apathetic or excited about attending. Watch and see if they are resistant to particular caregivers.

5. Flinching & Fearful Movements

A child that flinches at fast movements or cowers at loud noises may be a victim of physical abuse. Again, this is especially dangerous if it comes out of nowhere in a previously happy and confident child.

6. Lashing Out at Siblings or Pets

Young children have difficulty vocalizing their feelings, so you have to watch their actions. They model what they see others doing, so a sudden increase in physical aggression is a red flag.

At daycare, they may be learning that if you are bigger and older, you can be violent with those smaller than you. This often shows up at home as aggression against pets or younger siblings.

Signs of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse at the hands of a caregiver is every parent’s worst nightmare. You should be aware of common signs of sexual abuse— you can intervene, protect your child from further harm, and hold the abusive party accountable.

7. A Return to Bedwetting or Thumb Sucking

Children who are victims of sexual abuse may regress to infantile behaviors, including thumb-sucking and bedwetting. A previously potty-trained child may suddenly have frequent accidents or ask to go back to Pull-Ups or diapers. This is often one of the first signs parents recognize, so take it seriously if it happens.

8. Inappropriate Sexual Knowledge or Behavior

A child who suddenly uses inappropriate sexual language or acts out in lewd ways may be modeling the behavior and language they experience at daycare.

While inquisitiveness about their own body is normal, there is a vast difference between healthy curiosity and inappropriate behavior being modeled by an adult.

9. Painful or Red Genitals

Sexual abuse can cause irritation and damage to a child’s genitals. If you notice your little one grabbing at that area, crying during diaper changes, or pointing to it during bathing, get them into their pediatrician right away. You may also notice rawness, redness, or swelling in the area.

10. Difficulty Urinating or Defecating

Damage to the genital area can also result in toileting issues. If your little one used to urinate and defecate without issue but is suddenly straining or refusing to go, pain could be forcing them to hold it in.

Please note that many of these symptoms fall into different areas of abuse. For example, a child acting aggressive or mean to loved ones could be experiencing any of these types of abuse. Instead of assuming what is happening, it’s essential to get your child examined by a pediatrician, discuss your concerns with an attorney, and move forward with reporting the daycare.

Stop the Abuse – Contact a Lawyer Now

If you suspect that your child has been a victim of daycare abuse, let us help you through this difficult time. We’ll fight to hold the negligent daycare accountable and get the compensation your family needs to heal. Get in touch with our team at OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers today.

Notable Recoveries

$10 million

Seven infants were sickened after consuming a contaminated food product marketed to infants

$6.5 million

Verdict on behalf of a little boy who contracted a severe Salmonella infection from chicken

$7.55 million

Verdict on behalf of a little girl who contracted E. coli at a petting zoo

$2.25 million

E. coli infections contracted from a major fast food chain

$45 million

An over-the-counter medication caused severe kidney damage to multiple users

$3.4 million

A pregnant woman contracted a Listeria infection from contaminated fruit and passed the infection to her child

$3 million

Multistate Cyclospora outbreaks


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