It's one of the scariest things in the world, dropping the kids off for the first time. Parents want to feel safe and secure about their daycare that they choose, but for these scenarios, everything that could go wrong, does go wrong.
Whether it's biting the children, feeding them vinegar water, or something much worse, these are the biggest daycare nightmares that people have encountered.
He Was Shocked When He Saw His Son’s Diaper Each Day
“We were poor when my son was young, and I was a ‘house husband’ after I lost my job because the cost of daycare was greater than the amount of money I was going to make until two years when the salaries caught up. Sometimes we had to make do with cheap daycare part-time.
The worst was a woman who was just not that great when my son was still an infant. We’d send our son with a day’s worth of diapers, and my son would come back with a rash. One day, I put an big ‘X’ on the back of his diaper, and he came back with an X, showing that he had not been changed all day, BUT she was out of diapers again. I am not sure what she was using them for, but we suspect her family. My wife and I confronted her about it, and secretly started searching for a new sitter, which was hard because of the money/work ratio.
One day, I showed up to drop him off, and the woman did not answer the door. There were cars in the driveway and carport, but no one was answering the door. I peeked inside, and saw no one: not the usual drone of the four or five kids she usually had, either.
I gave up after half an hour, and was angry I’d have to miss a day’s work. On the way down the driveway, a car drove up, and some people in dress clothing came out. I asked what happened to the lady there, and they got very somber. They said she had died from a sudden heart attack over the weekend.
So that ended that. In the process of trying to find a sitter, I was fired from my part-time job. I would remain unemployed again for about another year.
A few months after I got the new job, we were driving in the neighborhood of the old sitter, and drove by her house out of curiosity. And guess who was in her front yard, sitting a bunch of kids? Yeah. She faked her own death.”
We Tried Telling Her
“My sister-in-law decided when her first born child was still an infant it was acceptable to find a babysitter off of the internet when she found herself in a bind. Everyone in the family strongly discouraged her from doing this and told her best to just call in. Knowing nothing about the person, not asking for references or any real info other than seeing the house, she dropped off the baby at the person’s home and went to work for the day. She got back to pick him up at scheduled time but no one was there. She tried calling the lady repeatedly but got no answer.
Almost two hours went by so she called police. The police arrived to the house and within 30 minutes the babysitter pulled up with her kid and the others she had for the day saying she was at the store and forgot the time and only had a landline. The baby was not in a car seat.
It’s not exactly a horror story but certainly could have been and hope it gave her a dose of parenting reality.”
It Wasn’t The Dog
“When I was about 4 years old, my mom left me with a woman who ran a small daycare in her home. It was only about four other kids or so including my older brother.
We had been going to this daycare for a year or two at this point so we knew this woman pretty well and had even had her over for dinner a couple of times.
One day my mom picked my brother and me up from daycare and my hands were covered in blood. I’ve always had a pretty high pain tolerance so when my mom asked what happened I couldn’t really say. The only thing I knew was that the babysitter’s dog had bit me.
This is where it gets twisted. My mom washed me off to see if my cuts were deep enough to need stitches and decided to take me to the doctor to be safe. So here we are, sitting in urgent care, when the doctor asks my mom to come with him to the hall. When they left, a nurse came in and asked me if my mom or dad has ever hurt me. I was so confused and cried for my mom. Apparently, the doctor had to report it. It turns out that these weren’t dog bites, they were human!
My mom immediately called my dad who went straight to this woman’s house. My mom and I raced over there and called the cops. The woman was arrested for child abuse and they finally got the whole story from her.
She told them that I was being bad and had taken the remote from her daughter. So she decided to punish me. For some reason biting me six different times on my hands and fingers was an acceptable punishment for a 4-year-old for taking a remote!
I still have the scars and it’s a hilarious story to tell when people see them.”
They Gave Her A Second Chance But They Wouldn’t Make That Mistake Again
“I used to work at a daycare. There was an older lady with me in my room. We’ll call her ‘Miss Jenny.’ She’d always go on and on about how much she loved kids, and would fawn all over them, blah blah blah. She was cool, we got along for the most part.
For a little while we were short staffed, so some days we would be scheduled to work in different rooms. Miss Jenny got scheduled to work in the infant room and threw an absolute fit. She went on and on about how she wasn’t hired to work with infants, how much she was going to miss her ‘babies’ for that day, etc. It started to get a little weird, honestly.
So on the day that she was working in the infant room, there was suddenly a commotion from the front of the building. My room looked out directly toward the front door and I saw the mother of one of the infants run in, yelling about her baby, disappeared for a few minutes, then rushed out with her baby. Come to find out – Miss Jenny had given this formula fed baby another baby’s nursing milk. His mom had to come pick him up and take him to the hospital because of HIPPA and stuff – you don’t have to disclose your diseases to have your nursing milk stored at the daycare. All of the bottles were clearly labeled too; it was a pretty daft mix-up on her part. Her excuse was ‘You shouldn’t have scheduled me in the infant room.’ Amazingly she didn’t get fired.
Well one week we had this little boy ‘Georgie’ (2) started his first time at daycare ever. He was a hot mess. That poor boy. He screamed all day every day. Wouldn’t nap, would just scream.
One day, Miss Jenny told me that I could take my lunch during nap-time and that she’d get the kids to sleep on her own. This was odd, but whatever.
After my break, I was scheduled to sit in a different room for a bit so I didn’t immediately return to my own room. Later when I returned, the kids had woken up from their nap and Georgie was covered in what looked like a bunch of tiny scratches. Miss Jenny told me that he was so distraught during nap that he wouldn’t stop scratching and pinching himself. This was not an expressed behavior of his until then and I was pretty worried about him, so I went to the director and let her know what was going on with this kid. They called his parents who came and got him, his mother was frantic about the kid’s state, crying, covered in scratches and bruises. The kid never came back after that.
A few weeks later, I was working at my other job at a pizza place and a detective came in wanting to speak with me. Apparently, Miss Jenny was the one that had given little Georgie all of those bruises and scratches. The woman didn’t realize that the cameras in the room could see her and she was trying to pinch that poor boy to sleep. She was let go after that.”
“Not me but my mom. I am the youngest of five. She always said that my oldest brother was very wild and extremely hard to deal with at bedtime. Most of the time they would resort to putting him in his car seat and driving him around the block to get him to finally fall asleep. She had two kids at an in-home daycare and my sister always slept well anyway but my mom always thought it was weird that the babysitter (let’s call her Pam) would say that my brother would nap well every time she would pick them up. My mom even joked about the lady being a miracle worker.
When she had her third child, she went on medical leave. At the end of her leave, she went to the Pam’s house to introduce the baby and finalize plans to return the kids to daycare. As she was leaving the house, the neighbor lady who happened to be good friends with Pam stopped my mom in the driveway and told her she was concerned about the baby as she was nervous that the babysitter might accidentally overdose her.
The babysitter was giving my brother children’s medicine (not exactly sure what specific type but some children’s drowsy stuff) every day, without permission, to get him to fall asleep. Obviously she freaked. She called local authorities but since Pam denied it there was nothing she could really do since it was obviously out of his system by then and there was no proof.
My mom was so shaken she ended up switching her schedule to the night/weekend shift (she was a nurse) so that her and my dad had opposite schedules and she could stay at home during the day.”
“When my brother and I were in elementary school, my mom decided to inquire at a daycare for after school care. She took us in, asked for rates, told them our first names, and left it at that. She decided she didn’t like the daycare and that was that.
Sometime a few months later, my brother and I were getting onto our school bus to go home when someone came and called us off of the bus and told us we were going to daycare. Perhaps we were dumb kids, perhaps we just trusted the adult coaxing us off of our bus because grown ups. We got on a bus and went to daycare.
Turns out that they just somehow decided that we were going to be enrolled so they came and got us. No paperwork, no contact information, nothing. They had nothing to link us back to our parents. As far as everyone knew we were just missing, gone from the face of the Earth. My mom and dad and the police were looking for us for around three hours. Meanwhile, my brother and I were just hanging out at this random daycare.
They finally managed to get it out of someone who had seen us get off of our school bus that we’d gone to daycare. ‘Okay, WHAT daycare? They don’t go to daycare.’ I remember that I was playing outside, and all the other kids had gone home. It was just me and my brother. My mom came running out with tears streaking her face and I didn’t know why she was crying.”
Two Nightmare Stories
“The first daycare I took my daughter to when she was 6 weeks old was a center. I went to pick her up one day and didn’t see a single worker, just kids of all ages running around all over the place. There was a little girl digging through a trash can of dirty diapers. I had my daughter picked up, in her car seat and halfway out the door before a worker finally popped out and acted like nothing was wrong. While I was talking to her about how that was not ok, another worker came in from outside and said she couldn’t be watching the kids because she was on the phone with her boyfriend. Also come to find out they had not changed her diaper or fed her all day because she ‘wasn’t hungry’ and ‘didn’t have any dirty diapers’ even though I was standing there looking at her very full diaper. And 6-week-old babies are always hungry. And if she truly wasn’t then she would have been sick and I should have gotten a call. Obviously, she didn’t go back to that place.
Another daycare we sent her to when she was a few months older was a daycare that advertised as a center, was a center when we toured it, and then the first day I went to drop her off the center was closed because they were ‘moving’ and had all the kids at a lady’s house down the street. I should have known better, but it was the same lady who gave us the tour of the center and they had said they would be changing locations, so I just went with it. I decided to leave work early that day to pick her up just to see what was going on, and when I got back to the house, the door was locked and all the windows were closed but I could hear my daughter screaming bloody murder from the driveway. I pounded on the door for a few minutes until they let me in and acted like they didn’t know why she was so fussy, like she was just a bad baby or something. She is normally very happy and easy going. I started asking questions about what they had done with her all day because it was clear she had been crying all day long, and eventually they admitted that she was scared when she got there and they didn’t feel like holding her so they just strapped her in her car seat and let her cry literally all day. I assume they were getting her out of her seat when I was knocking at the door so I wouldn’t know. She never went back there again either.”
The Whole Crazy Pants Family
“After my first son was born, we started looking for in-home daycares because the big centers were super expensive and looked like chaotic zoos to me so we wanted something smaller. We found a posting on a local online group from a woman (let’s call her crazy pants) who had four kids that were all grown or in high school and was looking to start a daycare.
I met her, her former military husband, and her high school aged daughter in their home and was very impressed with everything she had to offer. Plus the price was within our budget so we started bringing our son to her once I went back to work. By week two, we were getting at least one ‘I’m sick’ text messages at 5 a.m. every week, and by week four, she started calling my husband in the middle of the night and would leave the weirdest voicemails that made no sense. When asked about it the next day she would say she must have pocket dialed him. Sure, that could happen. But not three nights in a row.
At this point, we started looking for other options and interviewed another lady who we both loved right away. My husband went to pick up our son on a Friday, which would be our last day with crazy pants, and she wasn’t home! She and her family left for a weekend trip and left our son with an older woman who we didn’t know. She said she was crazy pants’ mom but she was a different ethnicity and looked nothing like the family. Even if she was crazy pants’ mom, we were not informed of this AT ALL and we didn’t approve AT ALL. We were supposed to pay her for that week’s care but my husband didn’t leave the check. I still feel bad to this day not paying her but at the same time EFF YOU crazy pants!
The daycare we switched to was amazing and my son has no memory of crazy pants obviously, but dang did I feel like a failure of a parent to leave him with that nut for six weeks.”
Nanny Arm Is Worse Than Tennis Elbow
“I toured a few daycares before we finally chose one. At one place, which was attached to a hospital, I was taken to the infant room and the three year olds room, but just stood at the windows and didn’t go inside at first. So we arrived at the infant room and there were about six babies under six months and two big ladies, probably in their 50s or 60s. One of the ladies scooped up a young, crying baby and handled the child very aggressively. It was harsh enough that I told the woman giving me the tour that the baby probably didn’t have enough neck control to be handled that way. She didn’t respond. Duly noted.
Meanwhile, in the room, the other woman caught sight of us at the window and gave the ‘we’ve got company’ eye to her colleague, who promptly started rocking the same baby and speaking gently to her. Complete 180.
Anyway, fast forward to this year, I’m at work and a friend starts telling me about this horrible daycare where his daughter got ‘Nanny Arm.’ Apparently nanny arm is caused by being harshly yanked by the arm. The poor girl couldn’t move her arm. Of course it was at the very same daycare. Just awful that people can choose that career and be so rotten to kids.”
The Scratches Are Permanent
“We put our son into a good daycare for a few months when he was about 18 months old. I’d bring a couple of changes of clothes and a week’s worth of diapers each Monday morning, and each day the staff were told not to put him on a cot for nap after lunch, because I’d be there to pick him up.
Without fail, the Tuesday through Thursday caregivers would put him on a cot, so I’d end up waking him when I got there. Ok, not such a big deal, he’s an easy sleeper.
The horror story comes when I went to pick him up one day, and there were three parallel fresh scratches on his cheek, obviously made by a little kid’s fingernails. The scratches weren’t bleeding any more, but weren’t scabbed over yet, and they hadn’t been there when I handed him over to the caregivers.
I asked about it, and was told that a little girl in the same class had scratched him while they were playing, but they’d trimmed her fingernails since then. And the open, bloody scratches on my son’s face? They’d wiped them clean with a Kleenex.
To this day, I feel like I was very calm when I told them the next child who was injured in their care had better result in a phone call to the parents, and how unacceptable it was to not even put Neosporin on an open wound, or even a bandaid.
I walked out with my son, livid, and found a small church-run preschool he stayed in until he started kindergarten.
He still has three small parallel scars on his left cheek even though I treated his scratches as soon as we got home.”
Shut Down For Having Yucky Water
“I think I may have gotten ours shut down, and that is probably ok.
My wife and I learned from our son, about 2 or 3 at the time, that some of the kids had to drink ‘yucky water’ when they misbehaved. Long story short, this was an evolution of one child’s parents instructing the daycare to use a small amount of vinegar when their child misbehaved in a particular manner. It became a go-to punishment for multiple children, without approval from any parents, for a variety of infractions. While our son had never been on the receiving end, I wasn’t going to let it stand, so when I got the information, I went to the center and called for the police to meet me there.
We went in, got my kid, the police talked with a few of the employees, and some followup work later, they were closed in about two weeks. It sucks in the sense that they were a generally good center, newest in town, and were the only place open to accept kids at 5:30 am, and that stayed open until 11:00 pm; every other place in our town doesn’t open until 7:30 am and closes at 5:30 pm.”
Good Thing I Double Checked
“Not so much a bad daycare experience but a bad experience while looking for reliable daycare for my son who was six months old at the time. I called countless people and even looked up the licensing website for my state. Basically this gives each daycare/licensed sitter a number and it will give you the run down of all the certifications and inspections they’ve ever had. (Inspections were done by the state) I highly recommend you look this up if you’re searching for daycare, it’s free for anyone to see these records if your state has them.
Anyway, I was frantically calling people trying to find a reliable person within budget since I was starting a new job earlier than I expected. I found one woman who had a few negatives on her inspections but it wasn’t anything alarming. I think one was something to do with her backyard having some standing water or something. Anyway I called the woman and asked her run of the mill questions with no problem. I asked her for her license number so I could look it up. Of course I already had it but I asked everyone before her for it just to see the reaction. She blew her stack. Kept saying I don’t need it and it’s private (it’s posted on a public website you could reach from online). Played dumb and said ‘oh, sorry, didn’t know that.’ Then I asked about who else lived in her house. She gave me a few names and I searched them later. Two of them were men involved in two recent assault cases that were dropped. No thank you.”