Daycare Takes Matters Into Its Own Hands, Infuriating Parents

We all pray that when we leave our children with a caregiver that they will treat them like their own and respect the primary authority of the parents.

And when we send our children to a daycare facility, it is with the understanding that the staff is properly trained in age-appropriate activities, discipline, and safety measures.

But one family is fuming after an incident in which their daycare took matters into their own hands.

A parent identifying himself online as user “Kiplarson” shared his story so that other parents might be aware of situations that occur in daycare without their knowledge or consent.

His son is a little over a year old and had been a very “grabby” baby – a completely normal phase for infants and toddlers to go through as they explore new environments through touch and cause and effect.

The childcare providers at Kiplarson’s daycare had spoken with mom and dad about the baby’s tendency to pull hair and not let go.

The parents began to work on the problem at home by firmly telling the child “no” and working on other age-appropriate ways to discourage the behavior.

Then one day when Kiplarson’s wife picked up their son at the daycare facility, she found him sitting on the floor wearing a weighted vest.

Now, weighted vests are a safe and commonly-used method for calming children with autism, sensory processing disorder, and other behavioral issues – if they are used properly.

Kiplarson and his wife were not only concerned that the vest looked too big for his son, but were furious that the childcare providers would take it upon themselves to use a weighted vest on a one-year-old.

“A week ago, my wife went to pick him up from daycare and noticed that he was wearing a weighted vest,” Kiplarson wrote, as reported by Café Mom. “The vest looked too big for him and we were told it was being used to give him comfort and make it feel like he was being held.”

But that explanation didn’t sit well with the parents. “I am concerned that this vest is not sized properly for a child that just learned to walk, and that these things shouldn’t be used by the daycare without our knowledge or consent,” he explained. 

Their son had never been assessed by an occupational therapist.  They had never discussed the need or the possible use of a vest.

with the staff at the daycare center.  And the baby’s behavior was not abnormal for his age.

Kiplarson asked for advice from other parents in his post, and they were overwhelmingly critical of the daycare staff for not consulting the baby’s parents.

Not only was the use of the vest a form of “punishment” for a behavior they couldn’t control, but the baby could have been seriously injured by wearing a vest that was not properly used.

National Autism Resources and other occupational therapists online note that a weighted vest should never weigh more than 5 to 10 percent of a child’s body weight.

The weight of the vest is determined by a professional depending on the child’s size, but also on the severity of the issue it is trying to address.

Weighted vests must be properly fitted and are typically not used on infants and small toddlers whose behaviors are likely age-appropriate rather than caused by a secondary issue like sensory processing disorder or autism.

Not only that, but they recommend that children not wear a weighted vest for more than an hour at a time.

Kiplarson has no idea how long his son was really wearing the weighted vest.  The baby had also just learned to walk, and wearing a weighted vest can take some getting used to.

When they are not properly sized, they can cause muscle strain in the neck and shoulders, changes in balance, and can inhibit mobility.

Vests and other specialized equipment should never be used without consulting an occupational therapist or other professional who is familiar with age-appropriate guidelines for use.

Kiplarson says that they resolved the issue with their son’s daycare, but his story is an opportunity to remind parents of a few good tips.

When you first enroll your child in a daycare facility or other form of childcare, make sure to sit down with the staff and get to know them.

Make a plan and put it in writing.

This plan should be discussed with the administration of the center, as well as anyone interacting with your child on a day-to-day basis.  It should be put in your child’s file and a copy left with their main caregiver.

It should specify any instructions you want carried out during the day, like making it known that you want to be contacted any time your child is having a behavioral issue, any special dietary or medical needs affecting your child, or any personality quirks that will help your childcare provider better understand your child.

Communication is key.  Insist that daycare staff contact you if they have any concern with your child at all and that any disciplinary action must be cleared by you and discussed in a conference with everyone involved.

Fortunately, Kiplarson’s baby was not injured and the issue was appropriately resolved.  But it is a good reminder to make sure your childcare provider is in regular communication with you and that you are always available if they have a concern.

What do you think of this daycare center using a weighted vest on a one-year-old without his parents’ consent?  Leave us your thoughts.

 

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