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problems with childcare

(149 Posts)
Melinwelin Fri 23-Sep-11 08:41:20

Hi Ladies
I would like to gage your reactions and comments please.

My daughter went to a local nursery from 9months old and I recently made the decision to move her to a childminder as she seemed to be constantly picking every bug up, other than that I was happy with her care.

I found a local childminder and she has a daughter the same age as my daughter (17months) and was also looking after another little girl 11months. During the second week I noticed my daughter had a really nasty bite on her shoulder (teeth marks and bruising) so I phoned the childminder who was apologetic and confessed that her daughter was going through a phase and she would keep an eye on the situation. I gave the benefit of the doubt but was not happy that it was not mentioned before. My daughter would have been really distressed and it played on my mind the whole of the weekend. During the 3rd week I collected her on the Wednesday to be told that a biting incident had happened again but the childminder had intervened, when I got home her little arm was so bruised that as far as I was concerned no intervention took place or if it had it was too late. I decided not to return my child to her care and managed to get her back into nursery on the Friday.

She had been paid upto the end of that week. She is now taking me to a small claims court for 4weeks notice (£620) but my argument is that she was in breech of her contract as she was unable to protect my child in her care and why should I be penalised and have to pay for two child care providers when this is of no fault of myself or my daughter..

Ok ladies whats your thoughts........ Do I fight this? Do I stand a chance? I am really upset by the whole thing and just wanted what was best for by baby....xx

nomoreheels Fri 23-Sep-11 08:45:04

I don't know the legalities, but she has a bloody cheek. I'd guess you'll have to turn up & thrash it out in court. Do you have photos of the injuries? That would support your case I'd imagine.

Imnotaslimjim Fri 23-Sep-11 08:46:09

To be honest, I think you over-reacted a bit. Almost all children go through a phase of biting, some harder than others. And it does happen pretty fast - even immediate intervention would still result in a mark, possibly a bruise

As to the legal/money side to it, I've no idea where you stand. "unable to protect your child in her care" is a bit harsh, its not as if you're childs life was in danger. And she'll have to face a lot worse than a biting toddler as she grows up, my DS was hit in the face with a huge plastic tractor while school - they we're sat right next to the teacher! Yes, she should have told you rather than wait for you to ask, but with other children around when you we're picking up, it likely just slipped her mind

2littlegreenmonkeys Fri 23-Sep-11 08:54:46

I can understand why you are upset, but IMO you have over-reacted to the situation. Children bite and hurt each other, it will happen at nursery as well.

I do think she was wrong in not telling you and waiting until you asked about the first bite mark, but we all forget things from time to time.

Personally I don't think she is in breech of the contract as you daughter was not in danger. I think you owe her the money. Try and fight it if you think you might win but I cant see it happening on the information you have put here.

I am curious to know what you will do if your DD gets bitten, kicked, pinched, hit, pushed at her nursery. Will you remove her from there as well??

Also FWIW I know how you feel, my DD1 seemed to be targeted by a particular child when she was at nursery, this little girl seemed to bite DD1 (pretty badly) she pulled clumps of hair out of her head. This is what happens, and I have a feeling that when my DD2 starts there next month that she will be the biter. DH and I are working our backsides off to try to get biting and hitting out of DD2.

cory Fri 23-Sep-11 08:57:19

We had a similar biting situation and tbh your reaction would never have occurred to me.

If your dd had happened to have a biting sibling would you have expected social services to intervene "as you were clearly unable to protect the child in your care"?

And how will you cope with playground accidents when she goes to school?

Of course you expect the childminder to keep an eye on them, but as everybody else has said biting happens very quickly and it is hardly life endangering.

And don't be too sure that there won't be another biting incident at nursery. Or that your dd won't suddenly take it into her head to bite someone.

StopRainingPlease Fri 23-Sep-11 08:58:06

Hmm, whenever my kids were hurt at nursery there'd be an accident form filled out for us to check and sign at pick-up time. I'd have expected a childminder to do the same.

I'm not sure if this is relevant to the money issue or not, but like you I wouldn't feel I could trust my daughter with the childminder.

BoysAreLikeDogs Fri 23-Sep-11 08:58:49

yes some children (not all) bite, some pinch, pull hair, smack, kick etc

all part of normal child development and although steps can be taken by childcarers to minimise biting and being bitten, or pinching, hair pulling, smacking etc, it's not possible to totally prevent in group situations

good luck with your court case

WidowWadman Fri 23-Sep-11 09:00:29

I think I smell a PFB. First you remove your child from nursery because of bugs, which are as likely to occur in any other group childcare setting, then you allege a lot about the biting incidents and the intervention. I'm not saying biting is right, but you can't tell from a bruise whether the childminder intervened or not.

Biting is unpleasant and needs to be addressed, but I think you're a) overreacting and b) are in breach of contract

coccyx Fri 23-Sep-11 09:01:46

Don't agree that all children bite!
I would not leave my child with her, how much attention is she actually paying to the children.
She should have filled in an incident form etc the first time and at the very least told you about it!

SardineQueen Fri 23-Sep-11 09:03:13

I would not be at all happy about this either.

What does the contract actually say? About under what circs you can cease without notice? Stoprainingplease mentions an accident form - does it say that she was supposed to do anything like this?

I also suggest that you post in legal about this. They will have a better idea of what's what.

SardineQueen Fri 23-Sep-11 09:03:56

I think you shouldn't have moved her from nursery TBH

somethingwillturnup Fri 23-Sep-11 09:04:26

Don't know how you'll get on with your court case, but I'm surprised at people saying you were over-reacting. I've got 6 children and not one of them ever bit another child. I don't even know why children would feel the need to bite anyone else and I have to say I understand why you would want to get your child out of this situation as quickly as possible. After all, if you were there, you'd be removing her from the situation immediately - I would imagine it's very difficult when you aren't there to see what happened. I also get the feeling you think the childminder was playing it down because it was her child that was involved.

Once, I would understand and she promised to keep an eye on the situation. Twice, especially by the same child, I think I would want any child of mine out of there too.

LoveBeingAMummyAgain Fri 23-Sep-11 09:05:46

The cm should have handled this better but no idea about the legal side. Maybe you should post in legal or even the cm section for better advice.

SardineQueen Fri 23-Sep-11 09:06:14

Children's bites really really hurt. A friends child sunk her teeth into me once and they are so sharp, she easily drew blood, I had teeth marks and a huge bruise. It really hurt.

So the idea that the childminder forgot to mention it is a bit dubious. It would have been quite a big deal I'd have thought!

SardineQueen Fri 23-Sep-11 09:06:49

I agree with somethingwillturnup.

cory Fri 23-Sep-11 09:08:25

Ime accident forms for even very minor injuries are the norm at nurseries but not at a childminder's. I agree that she should have told you verbally and that you have a right to be cross about that.

But the incident could have happened anywhere. Ds' childminder was a massively experienced woman, had all the certificates going and worked incredibly conscientiously, never gave herself a moment's rest. Ds still got bitten a couple of times simply, because the perpetrator gave no warning sign that he was going to do it. Nipping toddlers can be like bears, totally unpredictable. To keep ds absolutely safe, she would have had to carry him in her arms all day. And never ever occupy her hands by e.g. helping a third child onto the potty.

EdithWeston Fri 23-Sep-11 09:08:57

I do not think you have a case.

In the first instance, your DD did not actually show signs of distress to you - indeed she was sufficiently over it and unconcerned not to mention it at all, and you only found the mark later. The second incident was two weeks later, and again did not distress you child. These are both minor incidents.

If you don't like it, then of course you did the right thing in moving your child, but you do not have a failure to protect case on this. You need to pay up.

Good luck with the nursery BTW - outbreaks of biting are not uncommon, and can last a week or two (that's biting every day) as it goes round the whole group. Not to mention the inherent jostling, pushing, shoving etc.

I think you'd be much better off with a nanny for 1-1 care.

dribbleface Fri 23-Sep-11 09:09:14

To be honest biting does happen very very quickly, you can turn around to blow another childs nose and it can happen. Also your child might have cried the first time, but the childminder did not see the bite and every time a child cries you do not strip them to inspect for bites. Perhaps its only when you mentioned it she thought 'i can see my child most likely did that'.

I hate to say it but it might well happen in nursery too. Its horrible when your child gets hurt whilst in someone else's care but it doesn't automatically mean they are neglectful.

I think you really do owe her the notice period to be honest.

SardineQueen Fri 23-Sep-11 09:11:52

DD1 was at her nursery for 2 years and she was never injured, and other parents who I'm friendly with never mentioned their children being injured either.

Biting and injuries are not the norm everywhere, obviously.

cory Fri 23-Sep-11 09:11:58

somethingwillturnup, it is a well documented fact that some children do bite. Ime it has nothing to do with bad parenting or there being anything wrong with the child. Just because your 6 children haven't, it doesn't mean you couldn't have had a seventh child who did. I was a biter, none of my brothers were. Dd was a biter, her brother was not. I have no idea why dd and I did it: we were happy well cared for children with fairly strict but not (I think) over strict parents. We grew out of it. As did the little boy who bit ds at the childminder's.

SardineQueen Fri 23-Sep-11 09:12:56

OP please read your contract. And post in legal.

Without sight of the contract, no-one here can tell you what the answer is.

KatieMiddleton Fri 23-Sep-11 09:13:49

I too would be horrified. Especially because you had to discover this and weren't told by cm.

Do you have pictures of the bites? You will have to prove there was sufficient cause to constitute breach of contract. The burden of proof in a civil court is less than that in a criminal court btw.

Did she follow the correct procedure for accident reporting? What would OFSTED say about her behaviour?

Being a bit of a bitch I'd inform her that if she wishes to go down the small claims route you won't hesitate to go to OFSTED (and possibly heath and safety executive).

mollschambers Fri 23-Sep-11 09:14:34

Biting phases are not uncommon and generally short lived. I'm not sure how the CM could have prevented it happening tbh. You are right to have an issue with her not telling you - that is bad practice - but surely an oversight rather than deliberately concealing the incident as you were sure to see the mark. On balance I think you over-reacted. Sorry.

dribbleface Fri 23-Sep-11 09:16:09

health and safety executive? really? Agree a report should have been filled out retrospectively for 1st incident and for the 2nd but other than that biting is common and I doubt Ofsted would be too concerned.

moogster1a Fri 23-Sep-11 09:17:48

possibly heath and safety executive). Slight over reaction, don't you think?
I know, let's get OFSTED and HSE involved and see if we can really screw up this CM's career and life because a toddler bit another one.

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