When Day Care Becomes Downright Dangerous

By Amy Whitlaw
Rightgrrl Contributor
August 13, 1999

Yesterday, my husband came home from work early. Turns out a bomb threat was called into his corporate office building and the building was evacuated. Evacuees included children enrolled at the on-site day care center. Thought I'm no fan of day care, this isone of those nifty places where Mom or Dad can peek in the windowfrom time to time to see how much fun their child is having without them.

I used to think these weren't such a bad idea, but due to the latestoffice park rampages in Atlanta and Birmingham, I'd think twice before leaving my child in any corporate setting.

As my husband described the day care workers wheeling cribs out into the parking lot while the bomb search was conducted, I shuddered and thanked God that I'm able to be home with my daughter.

He went upstairs to take a nap (the bum) and I turned on the radio only to hear about the shooting that took place in Los Angeles. That's when I decided that placing young children in institutionalized settings, away from Mom or Dad, day in and day out, is just plain dangerous.

Forgive me if I'm starting to sound like a liberal having gun control hysterics. I am not naive. Of course I cannot prevent unforeseen disasters from happening simply by keeping my daughter near by. Anyone who has been around children knows how impossible this is. But at least I can try. The parents who's children were in the LA Day Care Center didn't have that opportunity.

When you choose to be home with your kids, you choose to know where they are and what they are doing. You don't have to worry that you'll turn on the television only to see your son ordaughter
holding their child care centermate's hand, walking single file away from a violent crime scene. (Of course, once they start grade school, there's no guarantee that won't happen.)

When I see a group of preschoolers walking single file like that my greatest fear is that my daughter's terrible twoness would set in, she wouldn't obey the teacher and decide to run back into the building, back into harms way. But if, heaven forbid, the two of us get caught in some sort of Enraged White Male Shooting at the Supermarket, at least I'll be there to hold tight to her, or throw my body in front of her, if need be.(Pardon by morbidity, but it is a sick world out there.) The point is I'd have the chance, hopefully, to protect her.

I can't fathom what kind of society we are becoming when we have little kids who are a) forced to be away from their parents all day then b) shot at by some lunatic. Even scarier, what will the future hold for these children? Nightmares? Constant fear? Definitely the need for some sort of self-defense training (perhaps the day care could offer classes?)

Every parent should have the ability to choose between their care and day care. The sad fact is, the tax burden in this country is so great that most parents don't have that choice. And it's the babies in cribs being wheeled through parking lots and kids walking single file, holding hands, that pay the price.

Amy's web site: It Takes a Parent

This article copyright © 1999 by Amy Whitlaw and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.