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Diatribe: Drugging Kids In Day Care To Make Them Sleep Is No Joke.

06/19/2013

CUPCAKEBABYWhen I was little, “day care” hadn’t been invented.  The majority of women with school-age children didn’t work outside the home and, those who did, relied on family to care for their young ones while they earned their pay.  Sometimes, the moms would take turns watching all the kids in the neighborhood or in the family.  They were qualified because they were “moms”.

I was a terrible baby sitter.  Admittedly, I have little patience for screaming children and would generally let them have their way if they so much as threatened to throw a tantrum.  And I only agreed to watch children that I knew and loved.  I could NEVER run a day care.  I do not have the patience and restraint required to supervise other people’s children.  I lack qualifications.

Tammy Eppley, who operates the Caterpillar Clubhouse in Westerville, Ohio, won’t be caring for children any time soon.  She has been charged with six counts of endangering children by, allegedly, sprinkling drugs on snacks that she served to children in her day care to make them fall asleep during the day.

Eppley denies the charges despite the fact that authorities are in position of text messages in which she admits giving the children Benadryl (an allergy medication) and Melatonin (a hormone and sleep aid).  She insists that the situation is the result of a misunderstood joke.

“Tammy was bragging about how they were all perfectly still and being quiet or asleep,” said a police report describing a video Eppley allegedly recorded on her cellphone and sent a friend.

Apparently, she mixed crushed Benadryl into pancake batter, juice and other snacks that she served to the children, including her own daughter, at the day care.  She denies any wrongdoing and insists that detectives are obsessed with pursuing charges against her.  She admitted that she joked via text message about using drugs to quiet the children but insisted she wasn’t serious.

“Tammy jokes about one of the children almost discovering her actions by remarking that the sprinkles on some cupcakes tasted funny.” – A report obtained by The Associated Press via records request

Franklin County (OH) Children Services conducted an investigation and have concluded that the charges are unsubstantiated.  Local police, however, believe differently and stand by their investigation alluding to other evidence in the case.

Interestingly, she has stated that she did provide drugs to children but only after getting permission from their parents.

Learning of this story makes me wonder how often this happens.  Surely, she’s not the first to slip a bratty kid a pill or add some vodka to a sippy cup.  But how can abuse of this nature be prevented.  It appears that Caterpillar Clubhouse was not required to register with the State of Ohio because Ms. Eppley was caring for no more than six children.  I think individual caregivers should be required to meet specified criteria and receive a license to care for children.

Being a “mom” should not automatically qualify as a childcare provider credential.

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8 Comments
  1. Truth is stranger than fiction. We cannot outlaw stupidity. So, she will get an interesting life lesson via jail time, fine and loss of future income.

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  2. Why would you ‘joke’ about this and send it on a video on your phone?

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  3. thedogs'mother permalink

    I did before and after school care (mostly volunteer) for the neighborhood and for a couple friends.
    In turn their parents would take my children on various outings on the weekends. In our world it took a neighborhood to raise a child 🙂

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  4. I ran a creche (baby daycare) in my home when my daughter was in kindergarten because I could not find good daycare for part days. I could see someone laughing about drugging a child. When you have 3 young children in the home all at the same time, if you can get them all to sleep during nap time someone might think you used drugs. LOL!

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  5. Anonymous permalink

    In every parent’s worst nightmare, we had to visit the ER last week because our 3 month old was drugged on her first day at daycare. She was enrolled in a ‘reputable’ nationwide chain, and of course they immediately denied noticing anything unusual. I suspect that drugging of infants and toddlers to make them drowsy at daycare centers is occurring at epidemic levels. For the sake of all kids, I wish there were an easy way of testing kids for exposure to medications they may have been given by rogue daycare workers.

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