Daycares often charge fees based on when a parent picks up their child late or when they pay. However, some parents find the cost of any additional fees to be too much.
One parent found that this was true, and she regrets not having paid it sooner.
A mom explains why she deeply regrets arguing about her daycare’s late fee.
Dani Morin usually posts parenting and child advice on TikTok. Recently, she shared her horrifying story about losing a child. In 2016, Dani Morin had an 18-month-old son that died in the hands of a daycare in Fontana, California.
“He was strangled by a Baltic amber teething necklace at a childcare [that] was watching 20 kids more than they were supposed to,” Morin shared.
Rebecca Lutz and Sagan Marriott were the daycare’s managers when the horror unfolded. Morin’s son Deacon was found unresponsive and not breathing after the necklace strangled him during a nap.
Instead of dialing 911 right away, they called Deborah Jimenez their boss. Jimenez was the only one who arrived and they called 911. A few days later, Deacon was taken off life support by the hospital.
The three men were accused of child endangerment.
“[They] did not attempt CPR because they were trying to hide their negligence,” Morin said.
Morin was “triggered” after encountering a TikTok about a school charging a late fee for parents picking up their children.
“Prior to my son dying, he was at two other home daycares,” Morin said. “One of them ended up moving, so we had to find somebody else, and she was phenomenal.”
The daycare provider was only able to care for four children. For many parents, this is the ideal amount of attention for their child.
“All eyes were on my son,” Morin said. “She was constantly doing crafts with them, sending me photos. I mean, it was just like a dream situation.”
Morin paid her on Fridays. This coincided with receiving her weekly paycheck the next day. Morin had to leave town because the daycare provider was on holidays and took Thursdays and Fridays off. Morin chose to pay her on Monday.
The daycare provider wanted $25 more.
“I go to pay her, and she’s like, ‘You owe me a late fee,’” Morin said. Morin fired back and texted her, “I feel like this is petty.”
She pled ignorance of the daycare’s late fee policy. Morin explained that even though $25 may seem small to others, it was very significant to her at the time. She called her mother and she took over the daycare provider’s place. She told Morin to go and apologize, saying, “she’s the best we’ve ever had.”
Unfortunately, her apology was too late. Deacon was then taken to daycare by the provider. Morin regrets arguing against this policy.
“Had I just sucked it up and not said anything because those are in fact her rules, he probably would have never gone to that other daycare,” Morin said. “And it’s something that I think about all the time.”
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Morin was advised by many commenters not to feel guilty for her son’s death. Morin appeared to recognize this advice, replying to several comments saying she agrees that she must “let it go.” But the painful process of moving on after losing a child can be complicated and difficult to navigate.
Kathleen Sullivan, a writer and mother, told us in 2022 that she was living with permanent guilt because of the death of her child.
“With the passage of time, I have become gentler with myself. I’m not responsible for what happened to Liam. But, I am his mom. If given the opportunity, any parent would swap places with a child who is sick. Sometimes, I wonder why it wasn’t me. Sullivan stated that she feels as if she let her baby down.
Self-forgiveness is vital to living with the pain of child loss. Parents will not stop grieving their deceased child. They will also never forget their children. However, holding yourself responsible for your actions will only make it worse and prevent parents from living with the pain of child loss.
Ethan Cotler is an author living in Boston. He writes about entertainment and news.
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