7 On Your Side: Daycare Dangers, Part 1 - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

11/5/07-Tyler

7 On Your Side: Daycare Dangers, Part 1

Where to send your child to daycare is a very important decision in a lot of households.

You think about the cost, finding one without a waiting list...We met one East Texas mother, who thought she did all her homework before deciding on a daycare.  Until the day she picked up her toddler and saw something very wrong.

"If anything happened I could just get there quickly," says mother of two Breeana Cantu about working close to her son's daycare.  "Something did happen ironically."

As Breeana plays with her youngest son, 19-month-old Elijah you wouldn't realize at first glance that at one time his face was badly injured.

"To see your baby like that it's just... I guess there just no words to describe," says Breeana.

It was August 22nd, when Breeana dropped off Elijah and her oldest son at their daycare, Creative Kids Learning Center in Tyler.

After her work day, her normal routine would be picking them up.  The daycare was only a few miles away.  She went to her oldest son's room first, to put him in a fresh change of clothes.

"No one, the entire half an hour I was there doing all that said 'Mrs. Cantu, your son is in the other room and he's hurt,'" says Breeana.  She explains what was said as she began walking to the next room to get Elijah.

"The teacher says 'Has anyone called you?' because she knows no one has, and she knows I'm about to see it and hear about it for the first time.  And I walk in and see him just like that," says Breeana.

Elijah's right eye was bloodied, bruised and swollen.

Too young to verbalize what had happened, Breeana looked to the daycare for an explanation.

"First they told me that he fell from a table and hit like a toy helmet right on the eye, right on the bone. Later they said no he didn't fall he was pulled by another child. They changed the story several times so it's hard to say," Breeana recalls.

So what did happen inside the daycare?

7 On Your Side obtained a copy of the incident report where the daycare says Elijah was pulled by another child off the table and fell on the floor.

Creative Kids responded to our interview request by issuing a written statement, saying the accident was an "unfortunate situation" and "the staff strives to provide a safe environment, both physically and emotionally. With any situation such as this we immediately provide care to the child, and thoroughly evaluate his or her needs."

This is what angers Breeana the most, the fact that she was told about her son's accident at pick-up which was after five o'clock.

But Creative Kids says they did attempt to reach Breeana on her cell and at work but was unsuccessful.

"Our work, I mean, there's always someone answering the phone or it goes to voicemail. Somehow you get through to somebody," says Breeana disputing that claim.

But this experience would turn into a valuable one after Breeana started doing a little digging of her own.

She found an online resource that is a report card, of sorts, for all daycares in East Texas including the one where her child was injured, listing state violations found during inspections and investigations into complaints filed against all daycares.

"It was just disturbing to see all this information was there I just didn't know about it," says Breeana.

7 On Your Side reporter Christine Nelson asks "Do you think, had you seen that beforehand, you would have enrolled your kids there?"

Breeana replies, "Oh no, no. It wouldn't have been worth it."

We must note that Elijah's fall was investigated by the state, and no wrongdoing on the daycare's part was found.

Creative Kids was only cited for not issuing the incident report at the parent's request.

The website we're going to tell you about in Part 2 of our investigative report spells all that out for you.

We went through some of the inspections and investigations and were amazed to find what is happening inside some of these East Texas daycares.  Are they yours?

Part 2 of this special report airs Monday, November 12 at 10 p.m.

Christine Nelson, Reporting cnelson@kltv.com

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