A Melbourne mum is sharing her horrific story of how her newborn son was clawed at daycare in the hopes of reminding other families that accidents such as having a newborn scratched 20 times are not something any parent should have to tolerate.
Her ten-week-old son, Noah was found bleeding with multiple scratches across his face after being left briefly unsupervised at a branch of Only About Children childcare in Melbourne.
‘All taken care of’
The mother spoke to 9News about her absolute horror and has also shared what happened on her Facebook page, explaining just how awful the whole experience has been and how disappointed she is with the staff at Only About Children.
Our 10-week-old son, Noah, was scratched by a two-year-old child on the face in OAC Melbourne Central on May 17. When I received the call from teacher, I was told that “A kid accidentally scratched Noah’s face. The face was bleeding before, now it’s all taken care of. But if you want to take him to see a doctor [to] double check, it’s ok and totally up to you,” she writes.
I know sometimes [a] baby will scratch himself and it is quite common since it happened before. So I asked the teacher to send us a photo first. I didn’t receive the photo until one and a half hour[s] later, and I was totally shocked by the photo.”
Upon seeing the photos of her son, the mother rushed to pick him up and immediately took him to the hospital. While the infant was found with multiple scratches and bleeding, luckily none of the scratches impacted his eyes or brain.
How could this happen accidentally?
The mother explained that the childcare facility wasn’t able to give her a proper answer about how her son ended up with scratches all over his face, except to admit that he was left unsupervised for a brief amount of time with the other child.
According to the childcare facility, the educator had left the two children alone so she could change another child’s nappy.
‘The explanation from the centre is this thing just happened accidentally, but we just can’t accept this explanation.
There [were] more than 20 scratches on Noah’s face – how can this happen accidentally? My husband says this is definitely not an accident, this is child abuse,” she told 9News.
Only a small incident
Shortly after the incident, the parents were contacted by the daycare to ask when their son would return and to reiterate that accidents like this happen and that scratching is a common childcare injury.
The director was trying to convince us that this kind of scratch is only a small incident and this kind of incident happen[s] every day in their childcare.”
Now it has been almost a month since the whole incident happened. Noah’s wound has basically healed, but we still decided to stand up and post this incident on the Internet to remind everyone not to send babies who cannot take care of themselves. Because you don’t know if your baby will be the next one being hurt.”
Since sharing her story on Facebook, the mother has received hundreds of comments of support as people are outraged this sort of thing could happen. Yes, accidents happen, but having your newborn scratched like this is not a normal ‘incident’.
Anna Learmonth, CEO of Only About Children issued a statement as follows:
“This is obviously an upsetting issue for the family involved and we would like to apologise for the distress caused.
“The health, safety, and well-being of every child at our centre remains our top priority, and we will continue to strive for excellence in all aspects of our operations.
“While this is an extremely isolated event, we have put in place additional measures to address this incident, including reviewing our procedures at nappy change time to include an additional educator.
The Victorian Department of Education has said it was aware of the incident, and that the centre had changed its policies as a result.
“The service has put in place measures to address this incident, including reviewing its procedures at nappy change times to include an additional educator at these times,” a spokesperson said.
“The Department takes the safety, security and well-being of every child extremely seriously.”
Accidents happen. They happen at home and, sometimes, they happen at childcare. However, every parent has the right to be told exactly what has happened during a childcare injury and to be fully aware of how this could have happened.
Child bitten over 25 times at daycare
This isn’t the first time childcare has failed to provide adequate care to a child. In 2021 we shared a story of a toddler in America who was bitten over 25 times at childcare.
One of the worst things about this childcare injury is the mum wasn’t informed that anything had happened at daycare. No one mentioned her daughter had been bitten multiple times when she picked her up. It was only after Alice changed her daughter at home that she noticed them. Read more.
Infant burned with bleach at childcare
In another instance, a little boy from Scotland had been left unsupervised at his daycare. The 10-month-old managed to pull himself up on a bucket of water and bleach that was left out. The liquid spilled all over Blake’s body as the little one screamed out in pain.
The daycare did not call an ambulance. Instead, they covered the burns in paper towels which made the burns worse as it ripped the blisters away from his fragile skin. The daycare contacted the parents to pick him up but didn’t explain how serious it was. The family has since received compensation for the emotional trauma endured which will go to their son when he turns 16. Read more.
We don’t share these stories to shock, but to remind parents just how important it is to make sure your child’s daycare is up to the national standards. Have a read of our tips on choosing the right daycare as well. Things like this should never happen.