Childminders cleared after taping down toddlers

Childminders who taped toddlers to tables and chairs have been cleared of all charges by a court in Finland. The case against the director and two employees of the Tomtebo daycare centre was thrown out by Helsinki District Court on Thursday 13th October as prosecutors failed to prove that the children suffered any distress or harm as a result of the makeshift restraints.

The childminders admitted to taping the children in place but denied assault after the case first came to light in 2010. The director was cleared of a violation of her official duties, as she was found to have previously told her staff that such methods were unacceptable.

The mother of a two-year-old girl who was taped to a chair told the court that her daughter no longer wanted to go to daycare after the incident and had cried in panic on the proceeding nights. The judge ruled, however, that it was not possible to say whether such behaviour was a reaction to the ordeal.

The childminder, who claimed the tape did not touch the child’s skin, said the incident only lasted for around 15 seconds and that the girl saw it as a game. She added that the method was a desperate attempt to gain control over a hectic lunch period.

The second employee admitted taping down the arm of a one-year-old girl who was prone to sticking her fingers down her throat. The woman said she was worried the child would hurt herself or throw her lunch back up. She added that she was trying to feed eight children alone at the time.

The court was unable to say whether the taping was an acceptable “child-minding method”, but concluded that the workers did not aim to cause the children harm. According to Helsingin Sanomat, all of the defendants have since left the nursery.