Most people realize that choosing a daycare is fraught with worry. Will they care about your child? Did they do the right background checks? What could happen if you’re not there to protect and advocate for your child?

For parents of children with special needs, or who are too young to communicate well, this can be doubly stressful, but for so many working class parents, there aren’t many other options.

These 15 parents hoped they had chosen wisely, but these horror stories prove you can really never know for sure.

15. This could have ended so badly.

Not me but my mom. I am the youngest of 5 and was born in ’94 and it happened in ’87. She always said that my oldest brother was very wild and extremely hard to deal with at bedtime. Most of the time they would resort to putting him in his car seat and driving him around the block to get him to finally fall asleep.

She had 2 kids at an in-home daycare and my sister always slept well anyway but my mom always thought it was weird that the babysitter (let’s call her Pam) would say that my brother would nap well every time she would pick them up. My mom even joked about the lady being a miracle worker.

When she had her third child, she went on medical leave. At the end of her leave she went to the Pam’s house to introduce the baby and finalize plans to return the kids to daycare. As she was leaving the house, the neighbor lady who happened to be good friends with Pam stopped my mom in the driveway and told her she was concerned about the baby as she was nervous that the babysitter might accidentally overdose her. Wait, what the fuck?! The babysitter was giving my brother children’s medicine (not exactly sure what specific type but some children’s drowsy stuff) every day, without permission, to get him to fall asleep. Obviously she freaked. She called local authorities but since Pam denied it there was nothing she could really do since it was obviously out of his system by then and there was no proof.

My mom was so shaken she ended up switching her schedule to the night/weekend shift (she was a nurse) so that her and my dad had opposite schedules and she could stay at home during the day.

TL;DR, babysitter drugged brother with drowsy children’s medicine to get him to take naps every day.

14. She should have been let go the first time.

I used to work at a daycare. There was an older lady with me in my room, “Miss Jenny” we’ll call her. She’d always go on and on about how much she loved kids, and would fawn all over them, blah blah blah. She was cool, we got along for the most part.

For a little while we were short staffed, so some days we would be scheduled to work in different rooms. Miss Jenny got scheduled to work in the infant room and throws an absolute fit. She goes on and on about how she wasn’t hired to work with infants, how much she’s going to miss her “babies” for that day, etc. it started to get a little weird, honestly. So on this day that she’s working in the infant room, there’s suddenly a commotion from the front of the daycare. My room looks directly towards the front door and I see one of the infant’s mother run in, yelling about her baby, disappeared for a few minutes, then rushed out with her baby. Come to find out- Miss Jenny had given this formula fed baby another baby’s breast milk. His mom had to come pick him up and take him to the hospital bc hippa and shit- you don’t have to disclose your diseases to have your breast milk stored at the daycare. All of the bottles were clearly labeled too, it was a pretty daft mix-up on her part. Her excuse was “you shouldn’t have scheduled me in the infant room”. Amazingly she didn’t get fired.

Well one week we had this little boy “Georgie” (2) start his very first time at daycare ever. He was a hot mess. That poor boy. He screamed all day every day. Wouldn’t nap, would just scream. One day Miss Jenny tells me that I can take my lunch during nap, she’ll get the kids to sleep on her own. This was odd, but whatever. After my break I was scheduled to sit in a different room for a bit so I didn’t immediately return to my own room. Later when I returned, the kids had woken up from nap and Georgie is covered in what looks like a bunch of tiny scratches. Miss Jenny tells me that he was so distraught during nap that he wouldn’t stop scratching and pinching himself. This was not an expressed behavior of his until then and I was pretty worried about him, so I went to the director and let her know what was going on with this kid. They called his parents who came and got him, his mother was frantic about the kid’s state, crying, covered in scratches and bruises. The kid never came back after that day.

So a few weeks later, I’m working at my other job at a pizza place and a detective comes in wanting to speak with me. Apparently, Miss Jenny was the one that had given little Georgie all of those bruises and scratches. The dumb broad didn’t realize that cameras in the room could see her and she was trying to pinch that poor boy to sleep. She was let go after that.

13. Even more horrifying in light of recent events.

Kids in day care routinely share colds and whatnot, but it seemed like my normally healthy 2 year old was constantly sniffling.

Went by the daycare at lunch one day to pick her up early, and watched in horror as a worker went to the kitchen, wet a washcloth, and then went down an entire table of toddlers wiping all their little faces with the same cloth.

Changed daycare that day.

12. Curiouser and curiouser.

We were poor when my son was young, and I was a “house husband” after I lost my job because the cost of daycare was greater than the amount of money I was going to make until two years when the salaries caught up. Sometimes we had to make do with cheap daycare part time. What can you do, you know?

The worst was a woman who was just not that great when my son was still an infant. We’d send our son with a day’s worth of diapers, and my son would come back with a rash. One day, I put an big “X” on the back of his diaper, and he came back with an X, showing that he had not been changed all day, BUT she was out of diapers again. I am not sure what she was using them for, but we suspect her family. My wife and I confronted her about it, and secretly started searching for a new sitter, which was hard because of the money/work ratio.

One day, I showed up to drop him off, and the woman did not answer the door. There were cars in the driveway and carport, but no one was answering the door. I peeked inside, and saw no one: not the usual drone of the 4-5 kids she usually had, either.

I gave up after half an hour, and was pissed I’d have to miss a day’s work. On the way down the driveway, a car drove up, and some people in dress clothing came out. I asked what happened to the lady there, and they got very somber. They said she had died from a sudden heart attack over the weekend.

So that ended that. In the process of trying to find a sitter, I was fired from my part time job. I would remain unemployed again for about another year.

A few months after I got the new job, we were driving in the neighborhood of the old sitter, and drove by her house out of curiosity. And guess who was in her front yard, sitting a bunch of kids? Yeah. She faked her own death.

11. That is flat-out neglect.

IL’s friend needed money so we paid her $20 a day to watch our 10 month old while we were at work.

I get a call at work. Babysitter left her camper door unlatched while she was outside smoking. My daughter pushed on the door, and fell about 4 feet onto a wooden pallet below. The babysitter waited an hour (during which time my daughter fell asleep…big no no after a head injury) before she called me.

My daughter had bruises all over her head from where she landed on the pallet. That was a Thursday, and my daughter started her awesome daycare that Monday.

10. Oh good gravy. Kids!

Parents were called because kids were taking turns pooping in each others’ backpacks.

9. I’d say that’s a sign.

Picked up 3yo son. Found out he had been crying at the door the entire day.

Changed how we did things shortly after.

8. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.

Oh man. I ran a daycare for almost 10 years. These stories are horrifying. Worst I ever had was a little girl who would play limp noodle when her parents would pick up.

Well, her dad wasn’t playing and didn’t catch her- she hit her head just right and busted it open. A few stitches later and she didn’t do that again.

7. Dodged a bullet there.

We interviewed with a lady that had an in-home daycare. She advertised all this stuff like “organic meals” “Montessori setting” all that crap. So I called her and set up a time to meet her and see her place.

We get there on the scheduled day at the scheduled time and she answered the door in her pajamas, looking like she just rolled out of bed. She was a mess. Okay… no big deal I guess. She does work from home after all. So we head to the kitchen, look to my left and there is one room stacked to the ceiling with stuff. Like totes and random crap.

Look to my right and there are children literally corralled into a living room, watching cartoons. Most of them are only half-dressed. I mean- that’s fine- but she advertised that she didn’t let the kids watch tv so I was a bit confused about that, also confused as to where these children’s clothes were.

The kitchen itself was pretty messy, but she explained that they had just had breakfast so I understood. What do they have for meals? She showed me a menu, it’s all processed crap. Again, not what was advertised. She’s starting to come across as really disingenuous, like it was some sort of trap.

It really wasn’t a big deal to have organic food or a certain type of curriculum, but that’s what she said she offered so that’s what we expected. We left feeling like something was really off about the place and decided to look elsewhere.

A month later she was busted for using and dealing heroin out of her house.

6. I ask for references when it’s a dog sitter.

My SIL decided when her first born child was still an infant it was acceptable to find a babysitter off of Craigslist when she found herself in a bind. Everyone in the family strongly discouraged her from doing this & told her best to just call in.

Knowing nothing about the person, not asking for references or any real info other than seeing the house, she drops off the baby at the person’s home & goes to work for the day. Gets back to pick him up at scheduled time & no one is there. She tries calling the lady repeatedly & no answer. Almost 2 hours goes by so she calls police.

Police arrive to the house & within 30 mins the babysitter pulls up with her kid & the others she had for the day saying she was at the store & forgot the time & only had a landline. Baby not in car seat either btw. Not exactly a horror story but certainly could have been & hope it gave her a dose of parenting reality.

5. Way too many of these stories.

I had my son in an in-home daycare for a few months when he was an infant. My situation changed and I wound up staying home/working nights and not needing it anymore.

Get on Facebook one day and see the place got raided for selling drugs. (Opioids and cocaine) Haven’t even considered an in home day care since.

4. I would feel guilty, too.

After my first son was born we started looking for in-home daycares because the big centers were super expensive and looked like chaotic zoos to me so we wanted something smaller.

Found a posting on a local FB group from a woman [let’s call her crazy pants] who had 4 kids that were all grown or in high school and was looking to start a daycare.

I met her, her former military husband, and her HS aged daughter in their home and was very impressed with everything she had to offer. Plus the price was within our budget so we started bringing our son to her once I went back to work.

By week two we were getting at least one “I’m sick” text messages at 5am a week, and by week 4 she started calling my husband in the middle of the night and would leave the weirdest voicemails that made no sense. When asked about it the next day she would say she must have pocket dialed him. Sure, that could happen. But not 3 nights in a row.

At this point we start looking for other options and interviewed another lady who we both loved right away. My husband went to pick up our son on a Friday, which would be our last day with crazy pants, and she wasnt home!

She and her family left for a weekend trip and left our son with an older woman who we didn’t know. She said she was crazy pants’ mom but she was a different ethnicity and looked nothing like the family. Even if she was crazy pants’ mom, we were not informed of this AT ALL and we didn’t approve AT ALL. We were supposed to pay her for that weeks care but my husband didn’t leave the check.

I still feel bad to this day not paying her but at the same time FUCK YOU crazy pants! The daycare we switched to was amazing and my son has no memory of crazy pants obviously, but damn did I feel like a failure of a parent to leave him with that nut for 6 weeks.

3. I would have been livid.

First daycare I took my daughter to when she was 6 weeks old was a center. Went to pick her up one day and didn’t see a single worker, just kids of all ages running around all over the place. There was a little girl digging through a trash can of dirty diapers.

Had my daughter picked up, in her car seat and halfway out the door before a worker finally popped out and acted like nothing was wrong. While I was talking to her about how that was not ok, another worker came in from outside and said she couldn’t be watching the kids because she was on the phone with her boyfriend…

Also come to find out they had not changed her diaper or fed her all day because she “wasn’t hungry” and “didn’t have any dirty diapers” even though I was standing there looking at her very full diaper. And 6 week old babies are always hungry. And if she truly wasn’t then she would have been sick and I should have gotten a call. Obviously, she didn’t go back to that place.

2. I have no idea what to say about any of this.

My fault entirely. Contracted with a woman who lived near my in-laws, she had 3 kids of her own and cared for mine and another.

It had been a long month of working all day, spending each evening with my dying brother. One night during this time he said to my husband, “you should have my knives”, indicating five rather large blades he had, ranging from a standard hunting knife to a machete.

Several days after he died, some family members reminded me of that as I was heading back home, so I grabbed the knives and put them on the folded playpen for easy transport.

Three days later, I dropped off my year-old son and playpen at the sitters. Plus one knife that I missed when emptying the playpen.

5 hours later I got an hysterical phone call from her. When she went to take him out of the playpen when he woke from his nap, she found him sitting in a shredded playpen, happily swinging around a very sharp 10″ knife. Not a nick on him.

He’s 29 and doing fine. All his bits in place.

1. This makes me want to throw up.

Another daycare we sent her to when she was a few months older was a daycare that advertised as a center, was a center when we toured it, and then the first day I went to drop her off the center was closed because they were “moving” and had all the kids at a lady’s house down the street.

I should have known better, but it was the same lady who gave us the tour of the center and they had said they would be changing location, so I just went with it. Decided to leave work early that day to pick her up just to see what was going on, and when I got back to the house the door was locked and all the windows were closed but I could hear my daughter screaming bloody murder from the driveway.

I pounded on the door for a few minutes until they let me in and acted like they didn’t know why she was so fussy, like she was just a bad baby or something. She is normally very happy and easy going. I started asking questions about what they had done with her all day because it was clear she had been crying all day long, and eventually they admitted that she was scared when she got there and they didn’t feel like holding her so they just strapped her in her car seat and let her cry literally all day.

I assume they were getting her out of her seat when I was knocking at the door so I wouldn’t know. She never went back there again either.

I feel so lucky to be able to leave my littles with my parents!

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Share with us in the comments!