Suspect abuse at daycare?

Q: Who should parents call if they suspect abuse at daycare?

A: If you ever have any concerns that your child has been abused or neglected by a caregiver, contact your child’s doctor right away for advice on what to do next. This may involve an immediate office visit. If the issue is something that goes beyond what a doctor’s office can handle — such as a case of suspected child sexual abuse — your child may be referred directly to an emergency department for a full assessment.

In general, physical abuse happens when a caregiver tries to “discipline” a child in a rough manner. Caregivers can become frustrated when a child continues to do something they’ve asked the child to stop. They may just be overwhelmed with other issues in their life, but unfortunately take it out on the closest person, which can end up being a child under their care. 

Early or immediate identification of potential abuse is critical for the safety of your child and any other children in that daycare setting.


Dr. Peter Dehnel is a board-certified pediatrician and medical director with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Send questions to drdehnel@mnparent.com. This column is intended to provide general information only and not medical advice. Contact your health care provider with questions about your child.