I’m Learning That Not All Daycares Are Poop Friendly

changing diapersI have recently heard two stories about parents having to leave work because their kids have had a “dirty” diaper. My cousin’s 2-year-old is in “school” for a few hours a day. She recently has been called because her daughter pooped and because of licensing they aren’t allowed to change her diaper. So my cousin has to leave work, change her daughter’s diaper and go back. Not only is this a major inconvenience but her daughter gets so excited when her Mommy shows up and wants to leave with her.

This was not a policy that was told to parents upfront when the program started. My cousin was surprised to get a phone call telling her that she needed to come and change her child’s diaper. And since her daughter enjoyed school and her work was close enough to the school, she was able to keep her enrolled. When asked about their diaper changing policy, the daycare said that not only can they not change a “poopie” diaper, but they also can’t clean up “accidents” if the child is potty trained. My cousin thought that it might be a state licensing rule, but her sister who has her child in a nursery school in the same state gets the full service treatment. No dirty diaper goes unchanged.

It’s not only the having to leave work that’s an issue. My cousin works three days a week and the other two days she uses the free time to run errands and, recently as a New Year’s resolution, started going to the gym. A few weeks ago as she was putting in her headphones and stepping on to the treadmill for the first time in years her phone rang. The poop had landed.

Twice in the past month my sister has had to leave work an hour away to go pick up her son because he had pooped twice in an hour. Not because he had pooped but because of the consistency of it. When picking her son up my sister had to sign the “diaper change log” to acknowledge that he had gone twice in an hour and that she couldn’t bring him back the next day without a doctor’s note.

I wonder where they get their guidelines. Does the daycare have a poop chart showing from liquid (danger!) solid (A-ok)?  In my cousin’s case, what if she isn’t able to run over and change her daughter’s diaper? Do they leave the child sitting in a dirty diaper until they are picked up?

With my sister, the daycare center was concerned that her son was sick and might get the other children sick as well. He was, however, showing no signs of illness other that the two dirty diapers.

My sister had to rearrange her schedule and work from home the next day because her son couldn’t go back. He had no more incidents and was allowed to return.

The daycare center does give out a handbook with all of their policies from pick up and drop off to snack time. The handbook mentions that the staff has a daily screening of the child’s health and if the child shows any symptoms of the illness they will isolate them from the other children. Additionally, said child will need to be picked up. They don’t specifically outline diaper contents. I guess there, the poop is in the eye of the beholder.

The difference between my cousin and sister’s situation is that that since my cousin’s daughter is in a nursery school, and not a daycare center, they do not have to follow the same guidelines. Also in most cases, a child attending nursery school will be there for only a couple of hours while most daycares have children all day. The nursery school can be more lenient in its policy, and while they can change wet diapers they can just say no to changing number two.

I guess I’ll now know the most important questions to ask when choosing a nursery school or daycare center for my child. After I tour the facilities, meet the staff and read all the referrals I’ll be sure to ask and “Are you a poop friendly facility?”

(photo:  mayamaya / Shutterstock)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

    What sort of day care for infants or toddlers can’t handle a poop diaper? Seriously, WTH?

  • msenesac

    I can’t even wrap my brain around how utterly stupid this daycare center is.

  • LiteBrite

    I have, surprisingly, heard of this before. As to it being a state licensing thing, I’m not sure. I can’t speak for other states, but the people who have kids in daycare here have never had this happen (at least the ones I know of).

    But yeah, if I had to leave work every time my daycare had to change my kid’s diaper, I’d be looking for a new daycare mighty quick.

    • Erica

      I’ve only heard of this regarding the YMCA. They didn’t change diapers at all or feed snacks. But then parents weren’t allowed to leave the premises.

  • Andrea

    I’d be looking for different child care. My sons were both in preschool during the mornings from age 1 till age 5. Everyone changed diapers, wiped butts, and cleaned up potty training accidents. I cannot imagine what ridiculous rule brought that on. I left my children at preschool so I could work for a few hours, run errands, etc. There is no way in hell I would pay the outrageous prices preschools demand if they told me they don’t “do diapers”. My money would go elsewhere. That’s beyond stupid.

  • TheLily

    If I had a child now, there is no way that I would be able to drop everything and go running to change a diaper. That’s why they’d be in care: to play with others their own age, to have someone to care and clean up after them. Let’s say that once I’m done school my kid is in Daycare and I get a call, if I’m with a client, I’m not going to be able to just say “sorry, I have to go. My kid’s diaper is more important than you.” My husband can’t just leave his classroom and tell the students “Sorry, your education means nothing to me.” This is, well, bullpoop. Thanks for the heads up when I start looking for daycares one day!

  • Tea

    I wonder if it has more to do with biohazard/bodily fluid training/certification and less just a “state” thing. It still seems really weird for a daycare, especially one with toddlers.

    • meg

      Biohazard/bodily fluid certification can, depending on the business, be both expensive and (slightly) time-consuming to get all your workers up to speed.

      That’s not an excuse for these ridiculous daycares, but it makes me wonder if they’re trying to cut time/cost corners by not getting it?

    • AP

      I certified lifeguards and childcare staff in things like CPR, First Aid, etc, and the Bloodborne Pathogens certification is not difficult or prohibitively expensive, especially since staff have to do CPR and First Aid.

      I can’t see “no diaper changes” being a law either. When I was doing the above certs, I had to read the diaper change policy as part of the child abuse prevention training. I had no contact with kids in that capacity, but I knew we had one!

  • Zoe

    That’s absurd that they didn’t give that information up front.

    I’m in Australia and at my mother’s kindergarten, some 4-year-olds are not toilet trained – this is has started happening over the past 5-7 years. The council does not allow her to forbid non-toilet-trained children from attending, but she always makes it clear to the parents that she and her assistant will NOT be changing any non-special-needs children, as it is a kindergarten and not a day-care facility (and for heaven’s sake, a child should be completely dry by age 4!).

    The funny thing is that she is no longer supposed to hug children, as that is ‘inappropriate physical contact’. However, wiping a child’s genitals is perfectly fine.

    • meg

      Sad about the hugs :-(

    • LiteBrite

      My last daycare was split up into rooms: the baby room, the 1-2-year old room, 2-3-year-old room, etc. Kids who were ready to move up to the pre-school room were not allowed to do so unless they were completely toilet-trained (no pull-ups allowed either). I completely understood their policy, but it was a little worrisome for us as our son was pretty stubborn about the whole potty-training process. Thankfully he got with the program, albeit a little later than we would’ve liked.

      And I echo meg: that’s too bad about the hugs.

  • B

    An expensive preschool program tried to convince me that my two year old should be completely potty trained because it was better for her. That’s my favorite– when they try to convince you that they are really doing this for the children, when the reality is that the preschool teachers/ assistants just don’t want to deal with changing diapers.

    • Erica

      I get it that staff don’t want to change diapers but you just need to accept that aspect of the job when you work with the young ones.

  • http://twitter.com/that_darn_kat Kat

    This is one reason why it’s so hard for me to find a daycare for my son. He’s 4 years old, and autistic. He’s not potty trained, and definitely still needs diaper changes throughout the day. This is a result of his autism and sensory issues. Unfortunately, most daycares don’t care. He’s 4, so by their rules, he needs to be potty trained or else they won’t take him. This means I can’t work during the day, simply because no one will accept him. It’s ridiculous.

  • Justme

    I’m sorry. I was under the impression that when I paid money for someone to look after my child while I was at work that they would be taking care of ALL my child’s needs…..which includes changing a dirty diaper.

  • Karina

    Sorry but that’s ridiculous, I work in a daycare centre and I’m pretty sure to be able to look after children you NEED to have diaper changing facilities to be able to operate.. How ridiculous to expect parents to come all the way just to change a dirty diaper.. ugh

  • Carlene

    I work at a daycare (accredited by the National Assoc. for the Education of Young Children) and we get in huge trouble if we don’t change a diaper as soon as we’re aware its dirty OR wet! Children under 24 months we change every two hours. We only call parents if a child poops more than 4 times in a 10-hour day at school. Sometimes we’ll call if its an unusual consistency, but unless its coupled with other symptoms like fever or lack of appetite we just make a note on their daily report and move on with our lives.

    Kids poop. We have to use gloves when we change diapers, and then after we’re done, both the adult and the child wash their hands in order to teach the children healthy habits. No idea where these crazy people get off disrupting parents work days!

    Check page six of this PDF for the standards all NAEYC-accredited centers are held to. http://www.naeyc.org/academy/files/academy/file/NewGuidanceOnNAEYCAccreditationCriteriaEffectiveOctober2012.pdf

  • kdubs

    I work in a public school – although, with kids with special needs (both which make my situation completely different) but we change tons of diapers – AND deal with sick kids all day! This is hilarious to me – these people need to get a grip!!

    great article!

  • http://twitter.com/DecaturFlora Flora

    Astonishing– you can go to your state’s licensing page and see if they’re telling the truth or just lazy. In my state you’re required to have hand washing facilities in the same room as the changing facilities so you don’t spread germs, but I have NEVER heard of not being able to change a diaper. That’s just ridiculous.