Day Care Horror Stories

Voting Rules
Vote up the worst horror stories to help parents know what to look out for.

You want to do everything you can to protect your children. That means nurturing them as much as you can when they are in your care and making sure they're safe when they aren't. Tragically for many parents, facilities that claim to give kids the attention they need are not always trustworthy. As these day care horror stories prove, making sure your kids are safe is tough but important.

Almost 11 million children across the United States are in child care programs such as child care centers and in-home child care. If you are a parent looking for day care, you'll want to ensure that the facility you go with is licensed and that their employees have gone through the necessary training to be able to take care of your child.

Even if you take those precautions, child care accidents happen every day. The best you can do is try to find a facility with a stellar track record and trustworthy caretakers. As you'll see from this list, even the best day care facilities have lost kids, or been unable to keep tabs on aggressive kids. While some mishaps are just that - innocent mistakes (like leaving a kid at Chuck E. Cheese), they all have the potential to cause serious, sometimes deadly harm.

Beyond the horrific child care stories on this list, you'll also read about more common dangers (like day care germs) that you'll want to try to avoid. Of course, there's no way to protect your child from every possible problem in the world. But reading this list of unfortunate incidences that occurred at day care centers can help you learn to see the warning signs.

Photo: PublicDomainPictures / via Pixabay

  • 1
    677 VOTES

    5-Year-Old Abducted

    A 19-year-old day care worker was apprehended and charged with aiding in the abduction of a 5-year-old girl from her elementary school. According to investigators, the suspect and victim walked a few blocks to a home where the child was then blindfolded and told to remove her clothes.

    She was found by a passer-by the next day in a park, shivering under playground equipment.

    677 votes
  • 2
    818 VOTES

    Four Perish in Texas Day Care Fire

    Four children perished when 24-year-old Jessica Tata, a day care worker, left her home to go shopping at a nearby Target. A fire, caused by a pan of oil she had left cooking on the stove, broke out in the home where she was supposed to be watching the children. 

    As a result, Tata received an 80-year prison sentence. 

    818 votes
  • 3
    540 VOTES

    Boy Drowns After Getting Lost

    After getting lost at his day care, Carlos Cardenas, who was only 22 months old, was found floating face down in a basin of water in the church baptistery where the day care was located. It's unclear how he was lost that day, but officials say it appeared as if he had been in the water for about an hour when they arrived. 

    Subsequently, the church's day care center closed after Carlos's passing.

    540 votes
  • 4
    542 VOTES

    Kids Duct-Taped to Beds

    Officials had to investigate a day care center after allegations that the caretakers were duct-taping children to mats to enforce nap time. Parents became aware of the practice after photos of a toddler wrapped in a blanket and bound to a nap mat by duct tape began circulating. 

    542 votes
  • 5
    461 VOTES

    2-Year-Old Left Outside On Christmas Eve

    When a 2-year-old's father arrived on Christmas Eve at day care to pick her up, he was told she was not there. After a frantic search, the father found her outside "curled up in playground mulch." The day care was closed temporarily. 

    461 votes
  • 6
    498 VOTES

    Baby Goes On Life Support After Oxygen Deprivation

    Two parents made the decision to take their son off life-support after their 4-month-old infant suffered a brain injury consistent with oxygen deprivation. Video tape of the day reveals a blanket bunched up near the boy's mouth, which the caretaker failed to notice as she cleaned the room. 

    498 votes