This daycare is "stinky"!

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  December 10, 2009 06:00 AM

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Question: I have a 1-year-old who attends in-house daycare a few days out of the week. He has been going to this woman's home since he was about 6 months old. I trust that he is getting the proper care... except when it comes to his stinky clothes. What I mean is that when me or my husband picks him up from daycare, he seems to always smell like "POOP". I would check his diaper, but there's nothing ever there so I am assuming she changes him before we arrive. But the smell is in his clothing as if he sat in "POOP" all day. Long story short I like the daycare, it's close to home, and very affordable, but how do I tell this woman nicely without feeling like my son will be mistreated once I drop him off, that my son stinks because your not taking off those rubber gloves when your done changing him? PLEASE HELP!!

From: Gemini, Boston

Hi Gemini,

I have three thoughts: The first is to give her the chance to, ah, come clean (sorry, I couldn't help that) by asking her: "Many days when we pick him up, there's a smell of poop on him. When we check, we can see he has a clean diaper, so we can't figure it out. What do you think it is?" That gives her a chance to own up or at least fix the problem. Give it a day or two. If it doesn't get fixed, point the smell out to her the next time you pick up him. I can't believe it would be that she's not changing the gloves, but you could certainly ask.

Here's the second: If she is not properly dealing with diaper changes, where else is she cutting corners? It would be enough to make me start looking around.

Lastly, you're worried she will mistreat your son because you're pointing out a problem to her?
That alone should tell you that this relationship is not what it should be.

If you don't feel you can act as a parent-provider team -- that is, if you are so intimidated by her or so fearful of losing the care that you can't give her feedback and, yes, criticism, and have it be received appropriately -- then this is not a healthy relationship. I understand the importance of proximity and cost, but quality of care needs to come first. My best advice: start looking for a new provider. I'm not saying you have a crisis on your hands, I'm not suggesting this is a terrible situation. In fact, it's the fact that you are afraid to talk to her is more worrisome to me than the stinky situation.

I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with
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4 comments so far...
  1. His clothing is probably absorbing the odors of the house. Like when you go the casino and you reek of smoke...

    If the house smells of dirty diapers, that is a red flag to me.

    Posted by Laura December 10, 09 07:56 AM
  1. Barbara is right on. I know it's tough, but as parents, it's important to get over the fear of upsetting/offending others when you need to advocate for your child. When you say you trust that he is getting proper care, what is that based on? What you've observed? What other parents tell you? Your gut feeling?

    As your kid gets older, there will be more situations where you'll have to get up the gumption to speak up for him. If you are concerned enough to write in for advice, then you are concerned enough that you should be asking the woman who takes care of your kid every day for some kind of explanation.

    Posted by anita December 10, 09 10:30 AM
  1. I've experienced this with our daughter from time to time, but it has always been explained by the provider. It is usually on a day when she's had several movements and so had many diaper changes, but many dirty diapers also. She may have spent some time in the diaper before a change (we are in a home daycare, too, so if she is just changed, it might take a changing of all the kids then realizing that the first one changed is dirty again).

    If you're concerned, definitely ask. During these times (usually teething for us when the diapers are several and loose), we're actively speaking with the provider about rashes and any other "not regular" activity. Don't be afraid to ask and if you're not satisfied, it is okay to speak to another provider.

    Posted by Jennifer December 10, 09 12:21 PM
  1. Does she changes his clothes, too? Is it the clothes that stink? Is he outgrowing the size diapers you're buying?

    If he doesn't have any diaper rash or other signs of not being changed frequently, I would just ask her what's up.

    If you're having a bad vibe, please listen to your gut. Good luck!

    Posted by just_cos December 10, 09 01:14 PM
 
4 comments so far...
  1. His clothing is probably absorbing the odors of the house. Like when you go the casino and you reek of smoke...

    If the house smells of dirty diapers, that is a red flag to me.

    Posted by Laura December 10, 09 07:56 AM
  1. Barbara is right on. I know it's tough, but as parents, it's important to get over the fear of upsetting/offending others when you need to advocate for your child. When you say you trust that he is getting proper care, what is that based on? What you've observed? What other parents tell you? Your gut feeling?

    As your kid gets older, there will be more situations where you'll have to get up the gumption to speak up for him. If you are concerned enough to write in for advice, then you are concerned enough that you should be asking the woman who takes care of your kid every day for some kind of explanation.

    Posted by anita December 10, 09 10:30 AM
  1. I've experienced this with our daughter from time to time, but it has always been explained by the provider. It is usually on a day when she's had several movements and so had many diaper changes, but many dirty diapers also. She may have spent some time in the diaper before a change (we are in a home daycare, too, so if she is just changed, it might take a changing of all the kids then realizing that the first one changed is dirty again).

    If you're concerned, definitely ask. During these times (usually teething for us when the diapers are several and loose), we're actively speaking with the provider about rashes and any other "not regular" activity. Don't be afraid to ask and if you're not satisfied, it is okay to speak to another provider.

    Posted by Jennifer December 10, 09 12:21 PM
  1. Does she changes his clothes, too? Is it the clothes that stink? Is he outgrowing the size diapers you're buying?

    If he doesn't have any diaper rash or other signs of not being changed frequently, I would just ask her what's up.

    If you're having a bad vibe, please listen to your gut. Good luck!

    Posted by just_cos December 10, 09 01:14 PM
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About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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