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Day Care Employees Locked Boy in Dark Closet, Did Not Expect Mom to Come for Pickup Early

A Secret Life of Mom Highlight Story: Sometimes there are stories that can help raise and maintain awareness of important subjects. That’s why we scour the archives and bring some of them back to help keep parents in the know. They may be touching, and even make you shed a tear, but the health and wellbeing of our children are what we value most.

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Day care centers are supposed to be a safe place for children while their parents are at work. Well, at least, one hopes so. An unsuspecting mother who left her then 1-year-old son at their usual day care was left absolutely horrified when she arrived to pick her son up. While this story is from 2017, it is still a blunt reminder to parents to be aware.

Every parent’s worst nightmare is something bad happening to their child. Every parent wants their children to feel cherished, loved, and most of all, protected. Especially when left in the care of others.

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A day care nightmare

The place you leave your child in care is supposed to be a safe place. A place for kids to be looked after while their parents are busy at work or other daily errands. These centers have trained workers who supervise and help the children to develop essential skills like social interaction and problem-solving. 

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However, as a parent, we have expectations of the care facilities. We put our trust in them and the caregivers. But unfortunately, as the old age saying goes, expectations can lead to disappointments or in this case, a parent’s worst nightmare! This is exactly what happened to Sydney Zimmerman.

Sydney lived in Phoenix City, Alabama, and was the mother of a healthy and happy 1-year-old named Slade. Every day Sydney would drop Slade off at the home day care center and pick him up a few hours later. 

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Recalling the situation

Sydney Zimmerman remembered leaving work early to fetch her son from the day care center that day. Only to be horrified by what she had walked into when she arrived. She also added that if she didn’t arrive before her usual pick-up time she would have never known what happened.

When Zimmerman arrived at the day care to fetch her son she was shocked to find that her one-year-old son was trapped in a dark closet without any ventilation. Not only that, but strapped to another child’s car seat screaming, “Mama!”. ‘He (Slade) could have overheated and died!” Zimmerman said in anger.

Zimmerman, livid at the state she found her son in said that he was in such a terrible state he could have very easily put something over his head and suffocated in that closest as there was no ventilation. She went on to add that she was absolutely furious and beyond the point of understanding the mistreatment of her son Slade.

Read: Single mother faces prison for letting her 14-year-old babysit

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There is no justification

The enraged mother swiftly and immediately rescued her son from the closet and called the police. While waiting for the police to arrive Zinnerman said the day care worker tried to justify their actions. “She’s all…sometimes he doesn’t want to nap. Sometimes he doesn’t this or that.” 

Zimmerman later confessed that if she didn’t go with her instincts to pick him up early she might not have known about this mistreatment. She also said that she has an overwhelming feeling that this wasn’t the first time this has happened.

She believes the only reason she never found out sooner was that Slade was too small to tell her how he was being treated. The aggrieved mother went on to say how she couldn’t get the image of her ‘teary-eyed, red-faced boy’ trapped inside a badly ventilated closet out of her mind. 

The police finally arrived 

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Zimmerman laid a complaint to the police and it was then that the police launched an investigation into the day care center. They then discovered that the day care was operating without a license which was just as distressing as finding her child in the closet.

She immediately planned to press charges against the workers at the day care for child neglect, child endangerment, and running a business without a license. The three day care workers that were accused of locking Slade in a closet finally appeared in court however, two of them, namely, Cynthia Dumas and Jennifer Parette were acquitted of the charges. 

Mary Parette was found guilty and charged with one count of child endangerment and given a measly $100 fine. Zimmerman expressed her dissatisfaction with the outcome of the trial and said that she planned to take it further. 

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Choosing a day care for your children

It’s not a decision to be made lightly. The place you leave your baby, toddler or young child is something that needs proper thought. There are so many options available. Group day care, in-home day cares, commercial child care. Whatever you choose, make sure you know what the various benefits are, and that you have done your research on your chosen establishment. We have compiled a useful list to help you choose the right day care facility.

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  1. Try to get recommendations from other parents before you sign your child up.
  2. Go through a screening process and speak to the teachers and caregivers in person.
  3. Visit the day care center unannounced. Centers who do not allow unscheduled appointments should be ruled out.
  4. Check that your chosen establishment is accredited and licensed. Any center that has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a top choice. For in-home establishments, check  National Association for Family Child Care for those who have top accreditation.

Keep Reading: Day care Writes a Note on Baby’s Stomach to Shame His Mom Into Packing More Diapers

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Sources

  1. AL mom discovers son found in daycare closet.” WTVM. Brandon Etheredge. June 18, 2017
  2. Mum’s shock discovery at daycare.NZ Herald. June 30, 2017
  3. Day Care 101: How to Choose the Best Day Care Facility for Your Family.What to Expect. Maura Hohman. July 5, 2020
Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.
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