There are lots of things mothers have to be concerned about with young children, but a 3-year-old potentially contracting gonorrhea usually isn’t one of them. Unfortunately that’s the fear a Jacksonville, FL, mother is facing after he daughter found a condom on her daycare playground and did what any other toddler would do, put it in her mouth.
According to Local News 4 in Jacksonville:
This happened in December 2011 at the day care which is part of the Head Start program run by the Jacksonville Urban League on Ionia Street. It is also the site of the city’s Robert F. Kennedy Community Center and Park. This incident has resulted in an entire year’s worth of fear and worry for her mother that the child has a sexually transmitted disease or possibly HIV because the condom tested positive for gonorrhea and it can take up to a year for these kinds of diseases to show up.
The child’s mom, Tiesha Sanders, was there on the playground that day and saw what happened. Now, she’s hired an attorney and plans to sue the Jacksonville Urban League because she says she wants to make sure other children won’t be exposed to the same danger that has changed her daughter’s life.
“I just really didn’t want that to happen to my baby,” said Sanders. “If it happens to my daughter, it can happen to yours.”
During an interview with Channel 4 anchor and reporter Adrienne Moore, Sanders cried while talking about that morning at the day care. She says she brought her daughter there and watched as she ran toward the slide and a group of children.
“I lift up my head and I saw her put something in her mouth and I was like, ‘get that out of your mouth!’ And someone said see what she had in her mouth and that’s when I found out she had a condom in her mouth,” explained Sanders.
Sanders said she washed her daughter’s mouth out with water and then called the Centers for Disease Control. After that, she took the toddler to the emergency room where the little girl was checked out and the condom was tested. Medical records show the 3-year-old was put through a series of rectal, vaginal, and throat exams which are repeated every four months so doctors can rule out the possibility of HIV and other STDs which may take up to a year to show up.
Meanwhile, it appears this situation was an accident waiting to happen given details uncovered in News 4′s investigation.
According to Florida’s Administrative Code for Childcare Standards, a facility’s outdoor play area “…shall be clean, free from litter, nails, glass and other hazards…” also “…fenced to prevent access by children to all water hazards…” and “…free from toxic substances and hazardous materials.”
The incident that occurred with Sanders’ daughter was never reported to the Department of Children and Families. And, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, no police report was ever filed. In fact, neither agency knew about the incident until Channel 4 started investigating. However, DCF tells us the day care was not required to report it.
“We certainly recognize the concern parents would have about an incident like this. We inspect childcare facilities at least three times a year,” said John Harrell with the Department of Children and Families.
Harrell says DCF has cited this Ionia Street day care facility five times for unrelated, minor violations in the last two years.
“There was a health exam where the child’s shot record had been expired, and there was information that was missing on a child’s enrollment form, and finally on a playground there was some rusty chains noted on a swing on this playground,” said Harrell as he explained the previous citations.
Once Channel 4 notified DCF and started asking questions about how a major incident like this could happen, DCF’s Childcare Licensing Department launched an investigation into this case. It found the facility was not in compliance with Florida code the day this happened and was cited for posing “…a threat to the health, safety or well-being of the children due to the presence of hazardous items.”
Despite this citation, the day care will not be fined this time. Channel 4 is told it’s because this violation is a first offense. But, if it gets similar violations in the next two years, the facility could face a $50 fine, an amount set by the state.
I can’t see a $50 fine being much of an incentive for the Urban League to clean up its act, literally, but a hefty lawsuit just might. Condoms on the playground are definitely not a good look.
Do you think this mom has a case?
*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.