When you choose a daycare facility for your child, you expect it to be a safe and healthy environment. Most daycare providers are responsible and loving, but some don’t even provide the basic standard of care. In fact, too many unscrupulous daycare workers abuse children in their care, and some have been caught. One common kind of daycare abuse is to sedate children with Benadryl to control behavior – but what kind of a person can work in this profession and not like, or have the patience for, children? Some toddlers given Benadryl have overdosed and died.
Dr. William Sears, a pediatrician and author of books on infant sleep, said that sedating babies with cold and allergy medications is an “old school” practice, but even a small amount of drugs is dangerous. “Sedative medications have no place in day care…Young babies need to awake easily to protect themselves from dangers like choking when they spit up. The sedative interferes with that natural waking mechanism,” Sears told CBS News. And New York pediatrician Dr. Laura Popper said that infants should never be given medication to make them sleep. “The only person who should be administering anything should be in an operating room and it should be an anesthesiologist. There are no sleep medications for babies.”
There are thousands of licensed daycare centers nationwide that care for our children, but some daycare facilities harbor dangerous child abusers. The American Society for the Positive Care of Children (AmericanSPCC ) reports that data from 2006 found that 5,321 daycare providers were abusing and neglecting children in their care. And there are more children in daycare now than ever before – chances are the number of abusive daycare workers have increased.
Incredibly, in February 2019 a woman claiming to be a daycare worker called radio hosts on a show called “Dirty Little Secret” and said, “I actually work at a local daycare and sometimes when the kids get a little rowdy, I give them Benadryl to calm them down… there’s no fighting.” The caller also claimed not to be the only one doing this. “There are shifts and other co-workers but I think they may do the same thing,” she said in a recording that went viral.
Nationally-recognized child injury attorney Jeffrey Killino has handled a wide variety of daycare abuse cases, including Benadryl abuse. Our experienced attorneys, paralegals, and investigators share the goal of helping injured families win the compensation they need and the justice they deserve. If your child has been hurt or killed in a daycare facility and you suspect Benadryl was involved, call us today at 1-877-875-2927.
What is Benadryl?
Benadryl is a brand name for over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine medication. Diphenhydramine is the generic name for the main ingredient in Benadryl, and it is found in other OTC medications. This medication combats the actions of histamine, which is a substance made by the body in response to the presence of allergens like pollen, animal hair, or dust. Histamine produces side effects like sneezing, itchy eyes, scratchy feelings in the nose or throat, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. According to the US National Library of Medicine, Diphenhydramine should not be used to cause sleepiness in children.
Benadryl Daycare Death
Over the past few years we have seen in the news incidents of children who have been overdosed with Benadryl. For instance, “Spoiled Rotten Daycare” owner Marian Fraser operated a daycare in her Texas home for 25 years before she was caught giving babies and toddlers Benadryl to knock them out rather than deal with cranky kids. But one of the 15 children she poisoned with the sleeping medication died under her watch. An autopsy of the 4-month old girl showed that she died of a toxic amount of diphenhydramine, an ingredient in Benadryl. Fraser was accused of wrongful death, neglect and gross neglect. A jury in 2015 convicted her of murder and recommended a 50-year prison sentence and a fine of $10,000.
Valorie Handy, owner of Handy’s Little Disciples day care in Millsboro, Delaware was charged with murder by abuse or neglect after a worker in January 2015 found the baby unresponsive when trying to wake him from a nap. The boy was pronounced dead at a hospital and the medical examiner classified the boy’s death as a homicide from diphenhydramine intoxication. Prosecutors told the jury they believe Handy gave the child diphenhydramine to get him to take a nap.
At least one state (North Carolina in 2003) has made it a felony to give children medicine without written permission from a parent or a doctor’s order. That law was named for 5-month-old Kaitlyn Shevlin, who died in 2001 after being given the generic form of Benadryl by a daycare provider, reported CBS News. In some states it is now a felony for daycare workers to give a child medicine without permission from the parent.
If your child was given Benadryl under the supervision of a daycare provider, you need to hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence. Attorney Jeffrey Killino is concerned with making sure our children are safe. Killino is not only an experienced lawyer — he is also a child advocate. When a Benadryl Daycare abuse or Benadryl Daycare death occurs he has the know-how and resources to guide you through the legal process to get what you and your family are entitled to. If your child has suffered Benadryl poisoning because of a daycare’s negligence, Jeffrey Killino can help.
What You Can Do – Be Proactive
There are ways to tell if a child has been given Benadryl, or any sedative. Because these medications last a long time in the system, your child may be sleeping too much and have a loss of appetite. Drop by the daycare facility at a time when you aren’t expected and see if your baby is difficult to arouse or not eating.
- Whenever possible, opt for a licensed daycare center that is regularly inspected and monitored.
- Make sure there are lots of cameras installed to indicate they have nothing to hide and for your own peace of mind.
- Ask that everyone who works there is subject to a background check.
If you suspect that your child is being drugged, report your suspicions to the police – confronting the daycare operator or manager is not enough. Keep in mind that you aren’t making an accusation, and know that your actions could prevent further instances of Benadryl abuse and save an untold number of potential daycare abuse victims.
When you need a lawyer who will exhaustively investigate Benadryl DayCare abuse or Benadryl Daycare death and make sure that every responsible party is held accountable, contact Jeffrey Killino. To speak to one of our attorneys, please fill out the form on this page, call us toll free at 877-875-2927, or send an email to a child injury lawyer today. We will respond promptly to your inquiry.
The bottom line: Do your homework to find safe, healthy and quality care. Get references and evaluations and know who is taking care of your child.