After Her Daughter Was Drugged At Daycare, A Mother Is Speaking Out

The owner of a Texas childcare center has been detained, and the center has been closed after charges that she gave children liquid Benadryl to put them to sleep during naps.

According to public records, Sondra Mata, the center proprietor in Abilene, was detained last week on the accusation of endangering a child, a second-degree crime. On December 15, the mother of one of the kids sued the since-closed Maw’s Child Care. When an employee who saw it reported it, Maribel Sandoval realized that her 2-year-old daughter had received the prescription. In a statement, Sandoval added, “It is alarming that my daughter was given medication that may have killed her.” “She was meant to be watched over and kept secure at the daycare. For any family with working parents, this is a nightmare. Mata did not respond to requests for comment sent via email after being freed from custody after posting a $10,000 bail.

When the original claims were made public by neighborhood TV stations, Mata issued a statement claiming that she had worked hard to offer “an economic daycare program with an emphasis on providing a safe setting for the children’s social, emotional, and physical development.” Russell Button, the lawyer for Sandoval, claims that parents discovered a pretty different experience in the early years. The Dallas-based Button Law Firm, which specializes in child abuse cases, filed the lawsuit asking for more than $1 million in damages.

The alleged infractions, including the event involving the Benadryl at Maw’s daycare center, according to Button, are “unquestionably one of the worst daycare track records we’ve encountered.”

According to the lawsuit, the center received 29 citations within three months of its opening in 2021 for failing to ensure adherence to minimum standards. Violations ranged from staff members working without the proper training to staff not having the proper medical paperwork on file to early educators allowing parents to request higher doses of medication than are permitted on the label for children under two.

The dosage for children ages 2 to 5 for children’s Benadryl is described on the internet as “Do not use unless prescribed by a doctor,” an allergy treatment that can also make you sleepy. Underage patients are not allowed to take the drug. Button added that inappropriately administering the medicine to youngsters could have various adverse side effects, including death. In recent decades, numerous instances have happened nationwide, including the end of a 4-month-old in Waco in March 2013.

Because the director and employees were too lazy to do their jobs, Button claimed, “Maw’s Child Care is downright unsafe” in putting children’s lives in danger. “We are grateful that Ms. Sandoval’s daughter did not experience a fatal reaction to the illegal drug.” Such incidents remind us of the value of safety regulations and the necessity for parents to supervise their children when bringing them up from daycare, according to Button. However, providers and early childhood education organizations assert that Mata’s situation is an outlier in the regulated daycare sector.

According to Jerletha McDonald, the founder, and CEO of Arlington DFW Child Care, parents should use the website of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Child Care rules to look for providers. There, they can verify that they are properly licensed and learn about any infractions.

She added, “Parents can visit their childcare center frequently and ask questions. “Ask about their ratios, curriculum, and extracurricular activities.” According to Bethany Edwards, the director of the Early Learning Alliance in Tarrant County, high-quality daycare facilities exercise extra caution while dispensing medication, including the facility to which she entrusts her children.

They administer many drugs to him at lunch, and she said they always err on caution. There have been instances when they could not give it to him because it had expired, so they called me, and I had to leave work and bring a bottle that had not expired.

As parents search for daycare options—limited in many areas of the state—Edwards advised them to tour the facilities, speak with the director, and familiarize themselves with their regulations beforehand. She advised her to be knowledgeable about the policies and demand explanations if something seemed odd.

Parents should trust their instincts, according to advocates like Edwards. Parents should pay careful attention even though kids occasionally say inappropriate things. She advised parents to pay attention to their children if they ever mentioned drinking tasty juice or anything else that seemed strange. Twenty-three Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Check out The Tribune Content Agency, LLC distributed this.

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