I am very fortunate to be able to have my full time job be taking care of my children at this point. But it has not always been that way, I have had both of my children in daycare situations. My son was in a home daycare for the first 9 months of his life. I know how hard it is to find a good daycare with a safe home and a daycare provider you like and trust. It took me months and dozens of interviews to find the right people to watch my children, but even with the research I did, there were still things I did not like about my kids day cares. There were many days that I would pick up my son and he would be sitting in a baby swing, I wondered how long he had been in there? When he was not strapped in the baby swing, he was in an exersaucer, the play yard, the crib or high chair. I felt like he was strapped in to something the entire day.

Now that I am a professional mom, I go on outings with my kids multiple times each week. We go everyplace I can think of to teach them fun things and get them exercise. While I am out I frequently encounter day cares out on their field trips and I am occassionally really saddened and frustrated by the way that some of the kids seem to be strapped in the whole time.

I brought my kids to an indoor playground a few months back, the daycare lady had 5 kids with her, 3 kids that were old enough to climb on their own in the play structure, and the little 2 kids were strapped into the double stroller the entire two hours of her outing. One of the kids spirit was broken and she just sat there bored in the stroller with no toys to play with, and the boy who was the same age as my son, wanted to get out so bad he would go through spurts of trying as hard as he could to get free and then would just sit there and cry. The two kids could have played in the toddler area or with balls in the gym area, but it was easier for the daycare lady to keep them strapped in place and wait for 2 hours.

Last summer I watched a daycare woman who always seemed to bring her daycare kids to the outdoor splash pool the same days I went there. She would have about 5 or 6 kids, she would leave the two little ones strapped into the double stroller while she texted on her phone and the other 3 or 4 kids would be supervised by the lifeguards so she could have a break. The little kids would have loved to be in a swim suit and splashing around like the rest of the little kids in the pool but they were stuck there. I see this all the time at the zoo but at least there they are usually moving around and can at least see a change of scenery, not just parked in one place for hours.

Today I saw something that made me so angry. A woman had 6 kids in her home daycare and she always seemed to be in the same room I was in at the Childrens Museum in St. Paul. There was one boy who was the youngest in the group who she kept buckled into the double stroller the entire time she was there. It was so sad because this is a place where you are supposed to touch and explore things to learn and she had a 3 year old stuck in the stroller so he could just watch the other kids have fun. He kept asking can I please get out in this room? Then he would push and pull and lift up his butt as high as he could but he was strapped in so tight he was not going anywhere.

I know there are many day cares who don’t strap the kids in and they figure out how to manage all of the kids and let them all have fun while they are on an outing. Unfortunately, there are the bad daycare providers who believe in strapping the little kids in to make them easier to control and monitor in public. It makes me wonder if they think that is OK to keep the kids stuck in one place in public, what do they do when nobody is watching?

Why do I write this? If you have a kid in daycare please ask what the daycare provider does with the little kids when they brings the kids outside, to the park, or on a field trip. Ask specifically how long they think it is OK to keep a kid strapped in during the day. If they are one of the daycare providers that strap kids in most of the day, you might want to reconsider your choice of day cares.