Worried about childcare: ask the expert

I am unhappy about childcare in my nursery. My two year old appears scared of staff.  They are unfriendly to me, never say hello and ignore my son when he comes in. I also find him abandoned in a corner on his own when I pick him up. He had a couple of accidents-bruised nose, scratches and bumbs. He comes home dehydrated and very thirsty – his daily sheet shows he has dry nappies all day long.Once they called me asking me where he was despite him being there! The last incident was when he left the nursery unnoticed and another parent found him outside and brought him back! The staff informed me about this incident when I came to pick him but played it down. I feel someone hurts him there as he seems terrified of some of the staff, clinging to me and holding tight, which is unusual as he is very sociable and likes company otherwise. Also he is terrified when I want to change his nappies, screaming and holding his hands in front. He gets happy as soon as he is dressed again. I don’t want to cause problems or accuse anyone, but I feel something wrong is going on in the nursery. What can I do?

For you as a parent knowing your child is safe and happy is your priority and the concerns that you are having are serious. As such, you should request a meeting with the nursery manager immediately. It is advisable to have someone else with you at this meeting such as a friend or relative. At the meeting, explain all the problems and concerns you have described below and how they have not been resolved. It would also be advisable to provide this information as a signed letter to the nursery manager and keep a copy for yourself. If you decide to remove your child from the nursery, this may be useful if you need to prove why you have removed your child from the nursery without giving notice. You could also speak to the parent who found your child outside, and ask if they will provide a statement. You may need to seek legal advice.

If you wish to take the matter further, you should contact the manager of the Early Years Team within the local authority and let them know what has happened. They can advise you on what you should do and may decide to investigate the nursery. You can get contact details for your local authority from your local phone directory, or online at www.direct.gov.uk/en/Dl1/Directories/Localcouncils. You can also contact the Ofsted helpline to make a formal complaint on 0845 640 4040. They and the local authority can make any necessary investigations and decide whether the nursery is providing a good standard of care. Ensuring the safety of all children attending the setting is a priority.

Daycare Trust is a national childcare charity working to promote high quality affordable childcare for all. www.daycaretrust.org.uk.

Comments [3]

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I’m having similar problem. Today is the 5th day that my son was at nursery. Every time we pick him up he is very thirsty and always has a new mark on him. If not scratches then bruises or a broken lip. Also he had already been potty trained for two months and now he has started to wee himself. At night he screams out in his dreams "no, please no”. I don’t know what to do. Every time I ask what has happened I’m told that he is a very active child. Today he weed himself after being told off by the staff for snatching a toy off another child. I am helpless. 

    Editor’s note: Our child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer says: "The parent should be told of any accidents and good practice states that the incident should be recorded in an incident book, with details of any medical treatment administered. Parents should be shown this at pick up time and asked to sign it to say they’re happy with the way it was dealt with. Each child in a nursery should have a key worker and parents should try and build a relationship with that person and be able to voice concerns. If you don’t feel that you’re getting the respect or answers you deserve, speak to the manager. Children often regress on potty training etc when they have a big change in their lives so this alone is not concerning, the same with dreams and nightmares, but taken together this comment does raise concerns. You should be able to send your son in with a water bottle and he should have free access to that during the day. If this doesn’t happen already, talk to the nursery staff and suggest it. I think that parents know their children better than anyone and should trust their gut feelings with things like this. A relatively straight forward option may be to find a different nursery for your child. If this is not possible or you want to address the issue without removing your child, try speaking the staff at the nursery but you can also raise concerns with Ofsted and the local authority. " 

  • Anonymous says:

    Remove your child from this nursery, they are clearly not looking after your child. if you are unhappy with a nursery and yopu feel your child is not being cared for appropriately then why should you send your child to these people? In the instance of your child getting out of the nursery unnoticed by staff, this is a serious breech of security, report this incident to Ofsted. You have too many concerns for you to leave your child here.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am a bit suprised by the mildness of the response given here. It sounds to me like the nursery is failing you and your son on many levels – emotionally and physically. There are always a few incidents and issues, but you have a named a lot. It’s difficult, but please trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to speak out and act. Focus on the facts and you can’t go wrong.

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