[Parentsgroup-list] Daycare Injury

Christine Wenc christinewenc at gmail.com
Sat Nov 15 10:49:53 EST 2008

I agree that you are right to be worried but also that toddlers often
have bumps and bruises.  I'll just say, though, that I had a nightmare
experience with a daycare when my son was about 2 (NOT a Harvard
daycare) that resulted in an actual criminal case being brought
against the daycare from the town it was in -- and it started with
unexplained bruises -- which admittedly began in a very strange place
(his ear, as if someone had been yanking on it).

We got out of there and he's fine, but.  Little injuries do
occasionally indicate something much worse is going on.  My experience
was at a totally respectable large home day care in a lovely house
with three teachers with college degrees etc.  I did find out that
studies show day care centers  (like the ones at Harvard) are far
safer than home day cares -- big centers are your safest bet in part
because there are usually few hidden corners or rooms that are not
visible to all the staff all the time.  Makes it much more difficult
for another kid or a staff member to do bad things when no one is
looking.  One of the reasons the Harvard grad student parents' group
was started was to give grad students affordable access to the Harvard

They are supposed to report every injury and tell you about it, so
make sure they do.  You can also call the state child care services
office and see if there have been any complaints, but I found that
office to be sort of a joke -- perhaps caring, but WAY understaffed,
and, among other things, people with criminal records, including
violent ones, actually CAN be hired as day care workers in MA if the
center thinks it's OK.  The process of being licensed as a home day
care provider is also laughably brief, and there are basically no
state inspections once the license is given.

It's very hard to hand your 2-year-old over to someone else for care
no matter how great the place is, and one of the things you have to
get used to is that you really have no idea of knowing what actually
happens when you are separated.  I do think that most of the time
everything is fine (we had a great subsequent experience with the
Harvard Yard Child Care Center), but I did find out the hard way that
very occasionally, it's not.  If you're getting a weird feeling, then
find out more about what's going on.  (Can you observe the class for a
few days?)

--Christine W.

On Sat, Nov 15, 2008 at 10:18 AM, Manjari C. Miller
<mchatter at fas.harvard.edu> wrote:
> I think it's your right to be worried. At the same time, with toddlers there
> are often unexplainable small injuries. My two year old comes home sometimes
> with little bumps or "booboos" that may or may not have an explanation. Kids
> that age do bump into things and scratch themselves while playing--not to
> mention their playmates may inflict scratches without even meaning to. Our
> daycare (PTCC) reports the more major injuries--ie deep scratches (from a
> friend); bump when he hit the floor hard; or a bit (the last two had no
> marks and I would not have known). But there have been times I've noticed a
> little mark that my son has no explanation for (usually he'll say "C bit me"
> etc if asked). If it doesn't bother him--which most of the time it
> doesn't--I let it go. Unless there is blood or residual pain or other more
> severe consequences, I would chalk it up to the hazards of being a toddler.
> However, for your peace of mind, you could continue to ask the teachers each
> time you notice something. That's your right. And whether they think you're
> paranoid or not is irrelevant. But for what it's worth, toddlers don't need
> long fingernails to scratch themselves and leave marks (or at least mine
> doesn't).
> On Sat, 15 Nov 2008, Eunha Chang wrote:
>> Dear Group,
>> I have a question about small injuries that occur at the daycare center.
>>  I
>> have a two-year old son, and he goes to one of the harvard-affiliated
>> daycare centers.  Since he started to attend this center from September,
>> he
>> had about five incidents of scratches on his face ( big enough to notice)
>> among which cases I only received only one accident report form. For other
>> four cases, when I asked about the scars, the teachers either said my son
>> scratched himself with his long fingernails (which were not long at all)
>> or they were from another days.
>> Do you usually ask teacher about these kind of small injuries? Am I being
>> too paranoid about it? What are the teachers response usually? I am not
>> trying to accuse the teachers, but just wanted to know what happened. I
>> totally understand that kids of this age get physical, especially when
>> they
>> cannot speak.  But hearing these non-sense excuses everytime just makes me
>> feel annoyed.
>> Now it seems like the teachers started to think of me as one of the nasty
>> moms who chases after every trivial injuries.  I am also beginning to
>> think
>> that there might have been more serious injuries-- that does not leave any
>> mark on the kids' body, such as some head bumping or falling from
>> structure
>> -- that the teachers just did not report.
>> Any similar experiences and any advice on how I should react in the
>> future,
>> when teachers keep saying that my son scratched himself to the point that
>> there is a scar? (For the last two years, I have never seen my son does
>> this
>> at home or outside.)
>> Best,
>> Eun Ha
>> --
>> Eun Ha Chang
>> Visiting Fellow
>> Harvard Yenching Institute
>> http://www.harvard-yenching.org
>> 617 999 6370
>> "Enter to Grow in Wisdom"
>> "Depart to Serve Better Thy Country and Thy Kind"
>>                ----Inscription on the outside and inside of the Dexter
>> Gate at Harvard (1901)
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