One example of a high-risk daycare
is Puddle Splashers in north Burnaby. Inspection records show Puddle Splashers has repeatedly caused concern for inspectors
since it first opened in 2003.
During an inspection of the facility in July 2005, inspectors noted the children's washroom smelled of urine, there was no cover on the diaper pail and bolts were protruding dangerously from a tire swing.
Inspectors also raised concern about the daycare's emergency procedures, noting that files for some children did not include a doctor's phone number or parental consent for emergency care.
As well, the inspectors found there was no documentation on site instructing daycare staff in how to use the facility's EpiPen - a device used to quickly inject adrenalin into a child suffering a severe allergic reaction.
In a written statement to The Sun, Shawna Harrison, the manager at Puddle Splashers, wrote that the facility took immediate steps to address all the concerns raised by Fraser Health inspectors.
"Despite our close attention to detail, potential hazards are, from time to time, identified," she wrote. "When they are identified, we deal with them immediately."
Following the July 2005 inspection, wrote Harrison, staff were "fully trained" in using the EpiPen and she asked the school it leased its building from to investigate the washroom odours.
In November 2005, according to Fraser Health records, a staff member at Puddle Splashers was fired after an investigation found she committed physical abuse against a child by grabbing him by the arm and pulling him inside, a distance of about 45 metres.
And in late 2006, Fraser Health launched a formal investigation of Puddle Splashers after it received complaints that staff members were belittling and mimicking children in care.
The health authority's report into the matter notes that two staff members - identified only as "Staff B" and "Staff D" - were accused by one of their colleagues, "Staff A," of laughing at a child in front of the child's peers for not making sense.
Staff A told investigators she also witnessed Staff B mimicking a child with a stutter.
"Staff A stated that they witnessed a child speaking with Staff B and Staff B responded to this child with, 'What do you want?' Staff B is alleged to have said this with a stutter," the report states. "Staff A stated that they further witnessed Staff B say to this same child, 'Don't stare at me with a blank face.'"
The two staff members in question denied the allegations, but the inspector found there was enough evidence to conclude the two had belittled children and both were required to attend a training course on bullying and belittling.
In her statement to The Sun, Harrison wrote that "despite sincere and honest efforts in hiring the best staff members ... there are the rare occasion when a staff member may, unforeseeably, act in an inappropriate fashion."
Harrison added that the two staff members who belittled children in care no longer work for Puddle Splashers.
Attached to Harrison's statement were five letters from parents praising the care at Puddle Splashers.
That completely confirms my gut feeling that I got from Ms. Harrison. As I was talking to her, she seemed uninterested and unfocused, and when she tried speaking to Lil J, it seemed forced and he completely ignored her and the daycare workers. That's a huge sign for Lil J as he only takes to people that he feels comfortable around.
Now I understand that there are thousands of daycares and these incidents are mostly isolated, but it is up to the staff to report such incidents of physical, sexual and emotional abuse between daycare workers and kids. So what isn't getting reported? What is being ignored?
I'm just thankful that I'm aware of these incidents now rather than after I sign up Lil J for a daycare.