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Getting a bad feeling about nursery

(15 Posts)
feelingworried Mon 24-Jun-13 18:26:49

I have NCed for this. Please be gentle as I'm upset having to write this. DD is 10 months and has been going to nursery for several months now. She seems happy and settled and we had no concerns.

In the last few weeks a staff member has returned to work after long term illness. Since staff member's return DD has been very red and swollen around her groin area, especially round her labia. Her clothes are being changed every day. Both of these are new and have started in last 2 weeks. She is not red at weekends and never needs her clothes changed either.

I have a bad feeling that is hard to put into words but essentially I have concerns that something inappropriate is happening. I have no idea what to do about this. I also don't know if I am totally overreacting. Is it possible that she is just getting nappy rash? And if she is getting it mid week only does that mean they just aren't changing her enough? She never had it when she was younger but I don't know if that can change as they get older or if it's something to do with teething.

It is an awkward situation as the nursery manager knows my husband and DH thinks I'm worrying about nothing and it's just nappy rash. Because of a previous job with vulnerable adults I am probably more hyperconscious than other people about abuse. Honestly don't know if I'm being PFB and fretting over nothing but don't want to fail DD if something is happening. What is the best way to handle this? Or am I worrying about nothing?

TreeLuLa Mon 24-Jun-13 18:29:10

Go straight to the head of the nursery with your concerns.

Ask that 2 members of staff are present for nappy changes. Ask to see their safeguarding policy.

scaevola Mon 24-Jun-13 18:32:04

Go in and complain. YOu will never again feel easy with this setting unless to get to the bottom of this and quickly.

The redness could be just incompetent changing, and the changes of clothes a father effect of leaving DD's nappy unchanged for far too long. perhaps make your first approach on that assumption, point out that it has followed the arrival of this staff member and request (nicely in the first instance) extra supervision/training for her about toileting.

RoooneyMara Mon 24-Jun-13 18:33:22

It sounds as though she may not be being changed enough, or is being changed without due care or using a product which irritates her skin perhaps.

Whatever - you are not worrying about nothing. I'm not sure what you should do but please don't ignore your concerns - she cannot tell you what is happening, you have to know for sure you can trust them.

RikeBider Mon 24-Jun-13 18:45:27

I would go in and ask for a meeting with the room manager. Don't go in to "make a complain" or suggest anything inappropriate is going on, just present them with the issue (genitals have been red and swollen in the last couple of weeks, doesn't happen at home) and see what they say. Ask what the nappy changing arrangements are/where it is done.

feelingworried Mon 24-Jun-13 19:36:48

Thank you. Feeling really upset about this. It is a really difficult situation because the returning staff member is actually the room supervisor so she must have experience. I got a strange vibe when I met her even though she seems pleasant enough. Hard to explain but it has unnerved me, especially now that this has started happening. I just don't see how to state my concerns without making an actual allegation of either abuse or incompetence - and I know from previous work how seriously an allegation could damage a care worker's career so I would never rush into doing that. The irony is because of my concerns about inappropriate behaviour I'm a bit reluctant to say "Please change her nappy more often."

I will have a word with the manager tomorrow about the redness. I don't know how to ask for the safeguarding policy without making it sound like I am about to make an allegation.

ReetPetit Tue 25-Jun-13 17:24:10

gosh, you poor thing. what a horrible situation to.be in!! did you speak.to.anyone today? no advice on how to word this really, i think you just have to go with your gut instinct...

s. abuse is thankfully rare in childcare settings - it is more likely to be inadequate cleaning - but why the changing of clothes? are they coming home wet/dirty?

insancerre Tue 25-Jun-13 17:34:17

You are right to be concerned but you are putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 5.
There are many reasons why a baby would be changed at nursery. She may be feeding herself more now she is older, they may be going outside more now the weather is nice, they may have more messy play now that the room leader is back, or the room leader may be more fussy and want to change the babies before they go home. Who knows? have you asked why she has been changed?
As for the redness, there are many reasons why this has happened. She may have developed to the wipes, she may not be changed as often as she needs to be, she may even be having more changes and may be sore because of that, if they use cream, they may be putting too much on or not enough.

If you really thought your daughter was being sexually abused by a member of the nursery staff, then why haven't you withdrawn her immediately and called the police?

breatheslowly Tue 25-Jun-13 18:45:29

You really don't need to think of this as an allegation of abuse or incompetence. It is part of the normal dialogue of sharing care with a nursery.

You haven't mentioned what the nappy changing arrangements are at your nursery. At this age at DD's nursery it was every 3 hours or after a poo. They recorded all nappy changes on a sheet and let us know each day what nappies DD had in the day. Any soiled clothes were returned in a bag - so I could see how they were dirty. They would also change DD for thing that were a bit excessive - a bit of paint or a few specks of food, so lots of changes isn't necessarily bad.

Possible scenarios are:
Not changing often enough
Not wiping enough when changing
Reaction to wipes (nurseries may buy whatever is on offer)
Not changing a poo quickly enough.

The last is probably the most difficult to resolve as it isn't easy to tell from the information that you get at the end of the day can't tell you its happening, unless poo changes happen to coincide with 3 hourly routine changes all the time., which would be suspicious. It is also quite likely as poo and wee react together to really damage skin. Very occasionally we failed to notice a poo and it made DD very sore.

It's fairly easy to open a conversation "DD has had sore bits on the last few nursery days, she seems fine at home and I'm not sure what you do differently." You can then agree a plan with them - monitor, change more frequently, bring your own wipes etc and they know that there is an issue. You can either raise this with the room staff and escalate if not resolved or take directlt to the manager.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Tue 25-Jun-13 18:52:29

I wouldn't have gone straight to the nursery, I would have gone to a paediatrician or to someone qualified to determine if this is 'nappy rash' or abuse. There's no way DD would be going back until I had done this. Going back to ask the nursery, to me, seems like asking the fox to mind the chickens sad

I hope to god it's just that the nursery aren't as vigilent as changing and supervising her feeding as you are and it's all innocent.

MarianForrester Tue 25-Jun-13 18:52:41

I agree that it's probably poor changing regime, but I do think that if you have a bad feeling you should act on it or you won't be able to relax.

Is there another nursery/childminder you could use? I think the doubts are something I would struggle to get over.

ReetPetit Tue 25-Jun-13 18:56:44

actually, Chipping raises a very valid point. If you haven't approached the nursery already (or even if you have) I would take your dd to a doctor tomorrow and have her examined. I agree that if I suspected abuse I would not be taking my child back there.
I really think it's a very good idea that you have her looked at - a doctor should be able to tell the difference between bad hygiene and s.abuse....

Hiddenbiscuits Wed 26-Jun-13 07:38:12

This must be very stressful OP, working in a profession where you see abuse happening can make you think it is a common occurrence. I too work with vulnerable people and it can be easy to see signs that could mean something but in context don't really if you see what i mean. When my DD started crying at nappy changes a few months ago my paranoid mind was working overtime! i honestly had sleepless nights and felt sick.

You are right to be worried about anything unusual, your baby cant talk and whether shes sore because of poor changing or something sinister you need to get to the bottom of it.

Remember that sexual abuse in a nursery is very rare, and usually accompanied by changes in behaviour too. Make a GP appointment, take photos if its really sore to show them and go from there

feelingworried Wed 26-Jun-13 19:25:55

Thank you so much for your replies. Concerns have been resolved, nothing sinister. I don't want to say more here as timing would make me identifiable but am happy to respond to PMs from those of you who replied before. I won't return to this thread but do appreciate your responses. Thanks again.

ReetPetit Wed 26-Jun-13 22:02:56

Glad to hear it op smile

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