10 children at a day care center in Arkansas were mistakenly given windshield wiper fluid to drink. The container was in the home day care’s kitchen and a worker mistook the bright blue hue for a fruity drink. Wiper fluid contains methanol, which can cause blindness and and comas. All of the children but one have been released from the hospital. The day care center owner was so upset over the incident that she voluntarily surrendered her license. It looks like this was just a horrible mistake and hopefully all of these children will be okay.
Even though Arkansas is quite a few states over from Indiana and Kentucky, how can you know that your child is safe in your local day care? There are a few important steps you can take to help protect your child.
- When you are first finding a day care provider, ask others with children for their recommendations. These are people who have been in the trenches and had first hand experience with the centers. They will quickly tell you who to avoid and who is great.
- Even though we’re all on a budget, don’t let price be your main concern. You may be able to get a reduced rate if you pick your child up early regularly or offer to work a few hours after work helping prepare snacks or other important tasks. You should go down a checklist of items that include things such as the cleanliness of the day care, the training of the workers, policies to protect your child and if the center is open to parental visits.
- Check with your local child protective services to make sure there are no pending claims agains the center and make sure the center is licensed.
- If your child is old enough to talk, regularly ask how things are going at day care and if anyone has hurt him or her in any way. You should also regularly remind your child that if anyone ever touches him or her in an inappropriate place (define this for your child) or hits or screams that they should always tell you. Explain that even if the person says he’ll be in trouble or that Mommy or Daddy will be angry, the child should still tell you because that may not be true.
Most day cares are professional and the workers truly care about children. However, there are bad situations, so always use your best judgement, caution and the advice of others.
If you live in Southern Indiana, you may want to check out Discovery Time II in New Albany. The family who runs this center are personal friends of mine and do an absolutely wonderful job caring for children. They are committed to increasing their professional licensing and employee training as well.
If you have additional tips for finding the perfect day care, please feel free to add them to the comments section below.