Tragedy Averted At A Daycare Center – How Can You Keep Your Children Safe?

Recent statistics show that more than seventy percent of mothers work outside the home.

This leads to many of us searching for the best possible care for our children while we are away from them. 

It’s an incredible responsibility – one that a daycare center in Arizona failed to recognize that could have led to an unspeakable tragedy.

Drivers in Gilbert, Arizona couldn’t believe their eyes as they drove down the road last week.

They saw, not one, but seven unsupervised toddlers near the road – and some were wandering into the busy street.  

They slammed on their brakes to avoid hitting the young children, each of whom was around 18 months old.  Drivers say they came so close to hitting the children that the sound of screeching tires could be heard.

Some of the drivers got out of their cars and walked the children back to the daycare center.

To their horror, none of the staff seemed to have even noticed that seven children were missing.

Police were called and started an investigation into the incident at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool.  

It appears that the children were outdoors on the playground when they were able to get through a gate in the play area and make their way toward the road.

And the only obvious reason this could have happened is that daycare staff were not properly watching the children in their care.  While the investigation found there was a “structural failure” of the play area’s gate, it doesn’t excuse that fact.

According to USA Today, the directors of the center immediately called parents, self-reported the violation to Arizona’s childcare licensing department, and had the gate repaired.

They also suspended the two teachers who were directly responsible for the children and have ordered an alarm system for the gate.  

In the meantime, children at the center will be kept indoors.  The investigation is ongoing, and for now, no charges have been filed.

It is horrifying to think what could have happened in this case, and it makes every parent worried for the safety of their own children in daycare.

What to Expect shares some great tips on what parents should be on the lookout for when choosing a daycare to avoid any potentially dangerous situations.

First, make sure you research daycare centers in your area.  Compile a list of what you are looking for, check for any issues with their licensing, and read online comments from other parents.

And beyond what you can find out online, ask friends with children or your pediatrician if they have heard anything – good or bad – about the places you are looking into.

Interview the center’s owners, directors, and teachers.  

Ask if there have been any issues with safety and what safety protocols they have in place.  This includes their student-teacher ratios, lock systems, security at the door, and proximity to roads or dangerous areas.

If you don’t know anyone in the area who has experience with the daycare you’re researching, don’t hesitate to ask the center for references from parents who have their children enrolled.

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And most importantly, make a visit to the center before you register your child.  Try to go when children are being dropped off or picked up for the day so you can ask other parents about the quality of care.

Better yet, drop by unannounced.  

While most centers truly love the children in their care and provide a safe and happy environment, everyone will put their best foot forward if they 

know you are coming ahead of time.

The situation in Arizona is uncommon, but it could have had a far more tragic ending.  

It serves as a cautionary tale to every parent – never be afraid to ask the tough questions when it comes to your child’s safety.

What do you think of this horrific incident at an Arizona daycare?  Leave us your comments.

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