Parents want changes at local day care center after daughter winds up in emergency room twice

Teacher faces scrutiny for leaving kids unattended
Posted at 6:16 PM, Oct 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-06 21:55:54-04

SAN DIEGO - "Every single day that I dropped her off after her broken leg, I left there in tears," a local woman told Team 10.

Team 10 is not naming the mother or her daughter out of concerns for security, but the mother wanted to share her story to help other parents keep their kids safe.

Her daughter was 2 years old last October when someone from The Merry Go Around Child Care Center called to say she'd injured her leg.

The child's father, Will Reyes, rushed to the center to pick up his toddler.

"She gets up and starts to run towards me and she almost fell down right there on the spot," Reyes said.

Reyes was asked to sign a paper acknowledging his daughter had been hurt. He rushed her to Rady Children's Hospital and discovered her leg was broken.

Reyes said his daughter's teacher kept changing her story about how the little girl was injured. He later learned she slipped on a puddle of water.

"I understand that kids are [going to] fall from time to time," Reyes said.

He and the toddler's mother didn't want to uproot their daughter in advance of a move, so they continued taking her to The Merry Go Around.

"Every single day that I dropped her off after her broken leg, I left there in tears," the mother said, even though she figured her baby would be "the most watched child" in the center after her accident.

Her friends told her she was overreacting.

Six months later, in April, the little girl's dad got another call.

"They said she had fallen on a bookshelf and split her face," Reyes recalled.

Again, he rushed his daughter to the emergency room. This time, she needed 10 stitches. Reyes helped several nurses hold his daughter down as she screamed in terror while her lower lip was being sewn up.

"Again, they didn't know how she did it. They didn't have any details," said the mom.

She claimed the teacher that was supposed to be watching her child kept changing her story.

The parents yanked their daughter out of the school and called the state Department of Social Services' Community Care Licensing Division to report the injuries.

An investigation was launched, and it determined the center's staff showed a lack of care and supervision. The Merry Go Around was also written up for not reporting the injuries, which they are required by law to do.

The little girl's parents filed a civil lawsuit against the center claiming negligence.

Team 10 followed up on their claim by checking the Community Care and Licensing website. Team 10 discovered the facility was evaluated again in August. At that time, the documents show the same teacher was suspended after a co-worker reported her for leaving a 2-year-old unattended in a classroom for more than 5 minutes.

The facility was again written up for lack of care and supervision, and fined $150.

Team 10 could not gain access to the day care because it's located on federal property. Team 10 called, and a woman named Yvette Jackson answered. She said she was the new director and knew nothing about the negligence lawsuit filed by the girl's parents. She said there are several other child care centers with "much worse" situations and said "extreme measures" are taken at The Merry Go Around to keep kids safe. Jackson offered to have someone with more information about the lawsuit call, but that call never came.

The parents of the little girl say they want to make sure no other family has to go through what they did. They hope the former director and their daughter's teacher at The Merry Go Around are barred from being around children.

The director retired right after their daughter's second injury, Team 10 learned. The teacher is still on staff, but it's unclear in what capacity.

The little girl is in a new day care now and is thriving. Her parents caution other moms and dads to do their homework before placing their precious children in someone else's care.

"My lesson learned is to listen to my gut," said the mother.

For tips on finding the right child care in San Diego, check the city's website.

For information from the state of California, click here.