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Daycare incident

Okay P101, this is probably off-topic (it's not about my kid/directly about parenting), but I figured it would be a good place to ask.

This morning when I dropped off my daughter at daycare, there was a tiny baby in a car seat behind the front desk. The lobby area is pretty small, but there is a small office space behind the front desk. No adult (staff or parent) was at the desk or in the lobby. The baby was crying and crying. I checked in the office behind the desk -- no one was in there either. I wasn't quite sure what to do... I rocked the seat a bit, tried to comfort without touching the baby (and while holding my 3.5 year old daughter in one arm -- she was upset by the crying baby too). Then I took my daughter with me through the door and into the daycare and informed the nearest teacher that there was a tiny baby unattended and crying at the desk.

As the teacher and I (and my kid) went toward the front desk, a woman walked by, swung the car seat handle up over her arm, and left. I assume that was the baby's mother, and that she had left the baby behind the front desk when she took her other kid(s) back to their rooms in the daycare.

I assume, as well, that the staff usually at the front desk weren't there when the mom put the baby behind the desk, or that the staff wouldn't leave such a tiny baby unattended no matter what.

Frankly, the incident really bothered me. While nothing happened other than the baby cried (although to me, that's bad enough!), something really bad *could* have happened. I did inform a teacher about the baby being left unattended -- should I also inform the daycare's director?

Comments

( 59 comments — Leave a comment )
theda
Nov. 5th, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
I would call the incident 'Another parent did something with their child that they were completely comfortable with' and leave it alone. Not your kid, not done by a staff member so you don't have to worry about them doing to yours, not really something you need to fix.
totheleft
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
This is what I was going to say,w ord for word.
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redfield79
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
That would bother me greatly. I'd be pissed.
bluesugar_74
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
It was upsetting to me, for sure.
karmik
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
I would be disturbed by the sight, but I think I agree with theda. Unless the baby was there for a very long time, which it doesn't sound like. A baby spending a while alone at a *daycare* doesn't seem like an extremely risky situation to me. I'd be more worried if it was a supermarket or something!

Edited at 2012-11-05 08:08 pm (UTC)
bluesugar_74
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
No way for me to know how long the baby was unattended before I walked in. It was a few minutes from when I walked in to when the (I assume) mother scooped up the car seat and left.
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claddagh
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
This is for the other mother and the daycare to sort out. Not your problem or concern. The child left unattended did not appear to have been done so by daycare staff.
holy_cats
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
I don't think that's the best idea, but at my daughter's pre-school (also a daycare) I see so many moms with 1 or 2 toddlers and then carrying the carseat with babies in, and it's hard to get through both locked doors and do the sign in sheet and then punch in your kid's code and then open the little gate (so many measures, but it's a good thing) one handed, while trying to hold on to your kid, and I've seen more than one mom set down the baby carrier to just quickly drop the older child in their room.. but there is always staff present in the front, and it's small, so they would be gone like 2 minutes tops.
it never really bothered me before or struck me as strange.
Now if they're leaving the building without their kid, or gone for more than a few minutes, maybe there's an issue.
I wouldn't mention anything more unless it happened again. Maybe Mom had to go to the bathroom or something. Maybe there was staff up front when she left the baby there but they had to go to the bathroom. So many variables.
claddagh
Nov. 5th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
Not the OP, but I would have a huge problem if a staff member assumed supervision of the baby and then left the child unattended. I have had staff offer to mind my baby during drop off or pickup. They are not then free to walk away.
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blue_stealth
Nov. 5th, 2012 09:10 pm (UTC)
That kind of thing isn't easy to see. But this could very well have been a mother trying to do too many things at once and therefore needed a reasonably safe spot to put baby down. I doubt very much that the daycare left the child unattended, but anything is possible.

If you are that bothered by it, absolutely report it to the daycare director, but do so without the presumption that anyone screwed up. At the very least, the daycare should be informed that this does happen/has happened in case there is an issue in the future regarding someone grabbing someone else's kid. With that said, I imagine it is very difficult to juggle a child, his/her bag and belongings, plus an infant in an infant carrier (and maybe even multiple other older toddlers/preschoolers) into a daycare. I had a hard enough time with one child in an infant carrier and her diaper bag.
gracie_x
Nov. 5th, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
I would report it so they have the opportunity to put up a sign or something advising parents against it if the desk is unattended or something.. Honestly I have a problem with the kid being left completely alone because 'just a couple of minutes' is all it takes - considering most abductions are done by people close to victims or already watching them, I wouldn't personally put my kid in that situation to appear completely alone and vulnerable. For instance - you could have been anybody.. perhaps I'm just overly paranoid though ;)
evil_lion
Nov. 5th, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
I'm overly paranoid because I thought the same thing, that if the OP (not saying she is) was to have a crazy thought about taking the baby, she very well could have.
OP, if you have a copy of their rules/regulations, you could check to see if they have rules against leaving children unattended in the lobby (enrolled or not enrolled) and if they don't, then I would bring it up about maybe adding it in, as that could potentially be a liability to the daycare center.
I myself obviously would NEVER leave my baby alone anywhere, but that's ME, I don't assume other moms wouldn't feel comfortable with it.

Edited at 2012-11-05 09:29 pm (UTC)
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emstar21
Nov. 5th, 2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
To me this sounds like irresponsible parenting that happened at your daycare, not irresponsible childcare that happened as a result of your daycare's operations. If it was at your dry cleaner, gym, or dentist's office, would you feel compelled to talk to the owner about it? If not, I would just ignore it unless it becomes a regular thing or something.
compulsivelyme
Nov. 5th, 2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
When I pick my daughter (2.5) up at daycare, I will frequently leave my son in his seat outside the toddler room. If I want to get my daughter and chat with her teacher for 30 seconds without 6 snotty nose tods touching my infant, that us what I have to do. It's that or holding over 20 pounds of FatBaby and seat, or twice the strapping and unstrapping to wear him. He's inside, he's safe, the door is locked, I'd never leave him crying.

I do what I'm comfortable with and what works for me and my daycare is fine with it. If other parents don't think that's appropriate they can do something different with their own kids. But I have two littles and daily i make choices based on what works for us.
killrwhale
Nov. 5th, 2012 11:14 pm (UTC)
This is exactly what I do. Preschoolers are drawn to babies like moths to a flame. I leave mine in the hallway. But I'm always within earshot and if the hallway is crowded with pick-ups/drop-offs, I'll get him and face the preschool mob.
thesparklegirl
Nov. 5th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
Eh. Obviously nobody was like "free baby!" and took it.

Maybe the child(ren) she was dropping off had a poop-splosion and she couldn't carry the baby, and her poopy child into the bathroom to clean up. Or didn't want to take the newborn into a classroom of germy kids.

I could see a few reasons why I might park my baby behind the desk for a minute.

Most people at the daycare don't exactly want to take another screaming kid home, so I doubt there's much risk of kidnapping. And it wasn't outdoors, or left in the car...

I'd let it be.
(Deleted comment)
claddagh
Nov. 5th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
If the daycare thought that the parent's actions were violating their licensing obligations, they have to boot the family out of care. That is really their only option.
_venus_
Nov. 6th, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)
I would say something. A) It is risky to the daycare. B) On the off chance the staff knew and left the baby I would want to re-evaluate having my child there and C) a frazzled mom might not have thought threw the risks, so saying "hey, I could have stolen your kid, be careful" may be a wake up call and D) if it was on purpose, they should be called out because that isn't any better than leaving your kid in a car, which is illegal
anjea
Nov. 6th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC)
What really horrible thing could have happened? A small baby restrained in her carseat is at no immediate risk - the chances of someone kidnapping her or hurting her are astronomically unlikely. I assume mama left baby there to drop off an older child. The baby could have been crying because mama was out of sight for a moment (depending on how old baby was), baby hates her carseat (mine screamed CONSTANTLY in her bucket, every single time until we upgraded to a convertible), she may have just pooped, or be hungry, or whatever. I don't assume there was any wrongdoing or illwill, and I'm also assuming that mama felt that it was a safe place to put the baby down for a few minutes. While it's hard to see/hear another baby crying, it doesn't mean anything is terribly wrong or out place, and I certainly wouldn't immediately jump to "worst first" thinking about something that COULD happen, exceptionally rare as that would be.
claddagh
Nov. 6th, 2012 12:53 am (UTC)
It just occurred to me, baby might have been sick and she didn't want to expose the kids to baby.
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laura
Nov. 6th, 2012 01:20 am (UTC)
I'd mind my own business. There are a million possible explanations for why you saw what you saw and really very few of them are even concerning, let alone alarming.
spazzy444
Nov. 6th, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
My daycare has a "no child left unattended" policy for that exact reason. If a daycare official walked in on that...there would be no way for them to know that the child was abandoned by a parent and not a staff member. That crap can get serious violations. I'd talk to the director about it. Yeah those buckets are heavy but leaving your kid completey unattended in public is never acceptable. What if someone walked off with the baby?
unconformed
Nov. 6th, 2012 02:12 am (UTC)
While I don't like to let babies cry, plenty of people do it on a regular basis and it's not illegal. I think an unattended baby in a carseat in a locked daycare is probably in a lot less danger than a baby in a room full of germy, impulsive toddlers, honestly. Weigh the actual risks. If you're still not convinced, well, you don't have to be. It's not your baby.
sarahness
Nov. 6th, 2012 05:21 am (UTC)
this is mild compared to babies left on the porch! jk jk...i dont have a problem with either. i think you're overthinking it and you were distraught because the baby was crying. if the baby wasn't crying, do you think you would have had the same reaction seeing a baby?
sandokai
Nov. 7th, 2012 02:42 am (UTC)
I'd tell the director if the mother hadn't shown up to scoop up the kid, but not after seeing the mother show up...
( 59 comments — Leave a comment )

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