Many American women leave their kids with a babysitter or put them in daycare while they work outside the home. But just how safe are your children in the care of a person who might be watching a number of kids? There are some signs to look for that might mean your child is being abused, hurt, or neglected while with the daycare provider or babysitter.
Most people would agree that taking care of kids can be very stressful. A person who doesn’t isn’t able to control themselves when stressed out might not be able to handle a crying baby or a child that cries or whines a lot or simply isn’t cooperating with the babysitter. Sometimes they go off the deep end and they abuse an innocent baby or child. And often the parents have no clue that the babysitter or daycare provider is hurting their kids.
There are several signs that might indicate that your child is being abused by your daycare provider. While these don’t necessarily mean there is abuse, they are reasons to be concerned. These tips are also for parents who have been using a the same babysitter or provider for at least a couple of weeks, time enough for the child to know the babysitter and not be going through leaving you withdrawals.
If your child has been comfortable with the babysitter but that changes suddenly and the child is very reluctant to be left with the babysitter, there could be a reason why the child is behaving in that manner. Has the child not had a problem in being left but recently began to cry and be very upset that you are leaving them with that particular person? Is the child doing this when left with someone else or only the babysitter or daycare provider in question? Assuming the child is very upset at being left with the babysitter, it would raise the question of why the child is so upset and crying. There is a reason that the child pitches a fit when you drop them off with the babysitter, when this behavior is new and not common for the child.
Is your child leaving the babysitter with bruises when they haven’t had them before? While it’s normal for kids to get cuts and bruises when playing, when this occurs too much, it raises a red flag. Ask the child and the babysitter separately how the bruises occurred. If you get two different stories or this happens repeatedly, it’s possible the bruises aren’t from playing.
Another sign of abuse is a child that flinches when you raise you arms near the child, such as reaching for something that might be near the child. A child that has been hit will often flinch out of fear that they are about to be hit again. If your child has never done this before and is suddenly doing it, it could be time dig deeper into what’s going on when the child is with the babysitter. A child that flinches in this manner has most likely been slapped or hit near the head or face.
Abused children will often become withdrawn. If your child has been a loving and happy child and has recently become withdrawn, it could be from abuse. This could be not just physical abuse but also mental or verbal abuse. A stressed babysitter might scream or yell things at the child or berate them with names, etc. Talk to your child and find out how the babysitter speaks to them.
If you suspect that your babysitter is hurting your child, proving it might be a bit difficult unless there are bruises to prove or the child outright tells you that the babysitter is abusing them. While you don’t want to falsely accuse anyone, you want your child to be safe and unharmed.
There are several things parents can do if they suspect abuse. The first thing is immediately remove your child from the suspected babysitter. Take pictures of any bruises or suspicious marks on the child. Contact the police or child welfare department and file charges. Depending on the severity of the abuse, the child might need counseling. The important thing is that the babysitter is not allowed to care for any other kids and hurt them too.
Unless you already know the person who will be caring for your kids, it’s important to always get background information on anyone that is going to be watching your child. Whether it’s someone that babysits in your home or their home or a daycare business, do some research before just leaving your kids with anyone.
One way to find out how a daycare is treating the children they are caring for is to drop in unannounced and see how the provider is dealing with the stress of watching several young children. Leave work early and pick the kids up earlier than usual and observe how the babysitter reacts. If she seems angry that parents arrive early, it might cause you to ask why. If the daycare provider seems upset that you are there unexpectedly, you might want to consider another babysitter.
No one that watches your kids should be upset that you want to know how they are handling things. It’s very important that babysitters understand that they are caring for your kids and that the welfare of your kids always comes first. Any babysitter that is upset that you arrive early to get the child or that you arrive with announcing it first is a cause for a red flag. Remember that you are the parent! The safety of your child should never cause a babysitter to be upset over you checking them out unexpectedly.
If you suspect your child is being abused by the babysitter, take action quickly and get your kids away from the babysitter and alert the police and child welfare agency as to what is going on with that particular daycare provider.