Just in case...Parental guidelines in case you are considering daycare

What you Need to Know

Parents who pay careful attention to choosing quality daycare can provide an ideal environment for their children during the day - one that presents challenging educational opportunities and allows young children to play creatively and socialize with each other. Most daycare centers are well-run, reliable facilities staffed by experienced personnel who feel a strong responsibility toward the children under their care. Recently, however, several highly publicized cases of child abuse in daycare centers have alarmed parents, child-care professionals, and law-enforcement.

Because parents want the best possible care for their children during the day, this page has been included to help parents find quality daycare providers, teach their children how to prevent physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, and learn what to do if sexual and physical abuse or exploitation is suspected or disclosed.

A 1988 nationwide (USA) study on sexual abuse in daycare - used as the basis for many of the recommendations on this page - confirms that children are generally safe in daycare; in fact, abuse happens more often in the home than in daycare facilities. Nevertheless, sexual and physical abuse and exploitation in daycare do occur, and parents should be prepared with the prevention tools they need to protect their children.

It is critical for parents to understand that most child abuse, including daycare abuse, is not committed by the stereotypical dirty old man who drifts into town and lures children to his lair under the bridge. Sexual and physical abuse and exploitation are committed by persons who are known to the children, who have often gained the children's trust and affection, and who may threaten or bribe the children into silence. Daycare abusers are not always males; in fact, a significant number of females (40 per cent in the study) commit daycare abuse.