Last November (2014) the video of the 22 year old Ugandan Maid who viciously assaulted a 18 month of child because the baby vomited shocked the world as it was reported worldwide and the CCTV video went viral on social media.
Yesterday one of my friends sent me this video, and I don’t know why, but I had not heard of this particular incident, though of course there was a similar one I had heard of. (One such incidents seems one too many). So I braced myself and forced myself to watch it. The reason why I’m doing this post now is specifically for those of you who may have missed it. Please share this, as the families out there need to be aware of the dangers of keeping children with maids or other caregivers whom they are not familiar with or simply haven’t known for a sufficient time.
These links are graphic, particularly the video. I don’t have any words to describe what I felt when I saw the video – I simply can’t translate my feelings into words but I do urge you to see it. It may help you warn someone else of the potential danger or in the very least make us talk about it as a community.
I know that not all of us can stay at home full-time or part-time once we have our babies. From reasons ranging from socioeconomic to personal reasons we may have to go back to work. This is not an argument over having to stay at home. What I want to point out is that in most cases, unless it’s your immediate family – your mother or mother-in-law, you need to be mindful of the caregivers that you leave your child with. This includes the maids at home and other caregivers at day cares etc.
So some of things you may do to make sure that your child is safe when left with are a caregiver is as follows:
- If you are leaving your child with a maid, try to leave your maid and child at family member’s home who can have an eye and be mindful all the time. This might be slightly inconvenient but it can only do good.
- There are instances when you have no choice and may not have family in vicinity to keep any eye on your child. In these instances be very careful about where you source these maids from. Interview them extensively and if possible ask for references. They should be able to give you a contact of an old employers (if not, maybe think again).
- Keeping a copy of her National Identity Card may not be enough, try and visit her home so that you have a hold on or at least know more about her. I know it’s inconvenient, it’s yours child’s well being at stake, a one day trip away from home can’t be that inconvenient.
- Don’t leave your child at once for a long period, phase it out so that you can see how your little one reacts to it as well as the mood your maid is in when you get back to better assess if she is suitable to take care of your little one.
- Never give an exact time to when you are coming back and be as unpredictable as possible in times that you return. If you can, have ad-hoc visits back home or at least enlist a friend or neighbor to have surprise visits.
- Think of installing a remote CCTV system so that you can monitor your child at home. Research, because there are cheaper options available on the internet as well as if you wander around Unity Plaza in Colombo.
- If you are leaving your child at a day care, do extensive research. Visit a few before you choose and as before, make a few surprise visits to the day care before enrolling your child so that you can see how they usually act around kids. There are day cares that have CCTV options for parents to monitor and this would be an option I would strongly recommend.
- When choosing a daycare don’t be afraid to ask for credentials of the caregivers and the management.
- Always be mindful. If your child is old enough to talk, talk a lot when you pick them up. Ask them questions about thier day and what they did with the different people at the day care or with your maid at home.
- Take a close look at your child physically, look out for scratches, wounds & bruises that may need explaining. Watching out for the small things can help you avoid disasters later one.
I’d like to say in an ideal world all we mums can stay at home and take care of little ones by ourselves, but that’s not very realistic. For those of us who can’t stay at home – being mindful, taking necessary precautions and constant vigilance on our children and their caregivers are essential.
It’s a cruel world out there and as much as I know that there are excellent caregivers, there’s always ones who are not.