2-Year-Old Girl Left Alone in Daycare, Found Crying at Locked Door By Mom

A Florida daycare is being investigated after a mother found her toddler locked inside alone.

Stephanie Martinez saw her 2-year-old daughter crying through the front door window of a KinderCare in the city of Plantation. She told local news station WTVJ that she immediately called 911 upon seeing her daughter. Authorities pried open the center's doors in order to retrieve her. The story is one of many recent controversies surrounding daycare centers around the country.

"She's super traumatized," Martinez told the station. "It's not fair."

According to WTVJ, Martinez's daughter was able to push a chair to the front door window and climb on top of it. Although the tactic worked and authorities were able to reach the two quickly, the mother said that the daycare center operators are fully responsible for the incident.

"Nobody should ever go through this," Martinez said. "You pay for trust and they completely voided that. I have no words. I'm still in shock right now."

KinderCare, which has more than 1,500 centers in 40 states, its website states, released a statement expressing gratitude that the incident was quickly taken care of. But it should have never happened in the first place, the company said.

"We take all concerns about children's safety seriously and follow a specific protocol anytime an issue is raised. Part of that protocol includes notifying our agency partners, like state licensing and Child Protective Services, as we did in this case," the statement said. "We also placed the staff members involved on administrative leave while we, and our agency partners, look into the concern further."

The incident is just one that has occurred in recent months regarding child safety at daycare centers.

A center in Rochester, New York, faced intense backlash after a child was forgotten in their van for nine hours in freezing temperatures. She was discovered by other children boarding the van later in the day and claims that she was offered $3 by the facility to keep it a secret. However, the center disputed her claim, saying that the $3 given by the van driver was not meant as bribery.

Daycare centers are also struggling in other ways. Centers are having difficulty finding suitable teachers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those who have continued to teach report that they are food insecure due to the extremely low wages provided by the industry.

Newsweek reached out to the Broward County Sheriff's Office for comment but has not received a response.

Update 2/18/22, 11:07 a.m. ET: This story has been updated to include background information and additional statements from Stephanie Martinez and KinderCare.

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Twin Peaks KinderCare in Allen, Texas. Another KinderCare facility in Plantation, Florida, is under investigation after a 2-year-old was locked inside alone and in the dark. Screenshot/Google Maps