Day care worker charged after four toddlers suffer broken legs

A Florida day care worker was charged with child neglect two months after four toddlers were found with leg fractures, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. 

Police apprehended Kids Discovery Learning Center center employee Christina Marie Curtis, of Fort Walton Beach, on July 20, following an investigation into an incident that occurred in May.

According to Curtis's arrest report, four children, ranging from 13 to 21 months old, were dropped off at the Valparaiso day care on the morning of May 20 and appeared fine. By the end of the day, however, all of them purportedly exhibited a change in behavior. 

"Upon returning to pick them up in the afternoon, the children were showing signs of distress and could not stand or walk," the report said. "The children were medically evaluated and each was diagnosed with fractures to their legs."

When questioned by police, Curtis "denied knowing how the injuries occurred and believed they could have happened either at home or in the playground," the report said. Yet, interviews with the children's parents and surveillance footage suggested otherwise. 

One mother, whose son was among the injured, told the Daily News that she had told Curtis to keep her child indoors that day because he had been suffering from a rash. Still, Curtis took the toddler out, the mother said. 

"When I picked him up, he had dirt all in his hair," the woman, who preferred to remain anonymous, said. "I don’t know if they let him crawl around out there or what. It took the day care three days to give me any kind of explanation."

The mother later learned that her son suffered a hairline fracture. The child has since been slowly recovering. 

"His balance is still a little funny, but I believe that will get better soon," she said. 

Footage from security cameras also revealed that Curtis had walked with an 18-month-old child while holding his hand above his head before recklessly dropping him into a wagon, according to her arrest report. 

"The defendant stopped and quickly moved her hands to (his) upper arms and rapidly jerked him into the air," it said. "When (he) was picked up, his feet and legs were in the air and was dropped feet first into a wagon. Other children were placed in the wagon and it was pulled outside."

When a teacher later attempted to place the same child on his feet after he had taken a nap, the toddler was "unable to bear weight on his legs," the report said. 

Another child that suffered a fracture that day had allegedly suffered one earlier in May — around the time Curtis began working at the day care, the report added. 

Though Curtis was arrested last month, she was released the next day after posting a $4,000 bond. According to her terms of release, she cannot have any unsupervised contact with a minor or be employed at child care centers or schools. 

The day care center's owner did not immediately respond to the Daily News's request for comment. 

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