Fort Worth, Texas,
13:25 PM

What parents can do to find safe child care

Child abuse pediatrician on what to do if you suspect something's wrong

The news of a nanny 20-year-old arrested in California for child abuse didn't surprise the child abuse pediatricians at Cook Children's.

Jamye Coffman, M.D., a child abuse pediatrician and medical director for Cook Children’s Advocacy Resource and Evaluation (CARE) Team, advises parents to monitor their nanny or babysitter at all times.

“I would set up cameras in my home,” Dr. Coffman said “We’ve had nanny cam videos brought to us and we’ve seen what can happen when the nanny or babysitter gets frustrated. They many not leave physical injuries or bruises, but we’ve seen some awful and abusive behavior that would not have been discovered without the cameras.”

The nanny, who has pleaded not guilty, is charged with trying to smother a baby boy in her care. Police say they have video from a hidden nanny cam of Moriah Gonzales, 20 years old, pressing her hands against the 3 month old untl he went limp. She has been charged with felony child abuse likely to cause great bodily harm.

So how do you avoid this kind of thing happening to you? Dr. Coffman says parents should start with research.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services provides a list of licensed child care centers and licensed or registered child care homes.Learn more about reporting abuse by clicking here. The Texas Abuse Hotline number is 1-800-252-5400.

Once you’ve selected the child care for you, Dr. Coffman says go visit it yourself. Also, make sure two adults are in the room with the children at all times. Ask about the visitation policy. If parents are discouraged to check in, find another place for your child’s care.

And most importantly, Dr. Coffman says to trust your gut.

“Even if you do all the research sometimes an incident hasn’t been reported and may have occurred,” Dr. Coffman said. “If you think something is off about where your child is being cared for, you don’t want to risk sending him or her back until something does happen. If you have that gut instinct, look for another day care.”

If you take your child to an in-home day care provider or you have a nanny at your home, similar rules apply. Dr. Coffman says she always prefers two sets of adult eyes on the child, but if that’s not possible, make frequent drop in visits. Any day care operator should welcome the opportunity for you to check in on your own child.

Click the following link for more information: Did you know only 7 percent of licensed child programs in Tarrant County considered quality? Click to read more.

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