Exclusive: Mom Says Long Island Child Care Center Burned Young Daughter’s Skin, Then Lied About it

HOLBROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island mother says a daycare center used a powerful household cleaning product on her baby’s skin.

And to make matters worse, she said employees lied to her about the injury, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Wednesday.

Marie Deckenback said her toddler’s skin could be permanently discolored following last week’s incident at Precious Lambs Child Care. She picked up 16-month-old Madeline from the facility in Holbrook and found what looked like a burn.

“It was swollen, raised, hot and worst of all she was in pain,” Deckenback said.

She said staff told her the baby was accidentally brushed with a permanent marker, which they tried to remove with soap and water.

(Photo: CBS2)

But the baby’s alarmed doctor reported it to Child Protective Services.

“They had diagnosed her with a chemical burn, leaving the laceration and the second-degree burn on my daughter,” Deckenback said.

After investigators visited the daycare center, the story and the incident report changed. What the center first described as “wipes and paper towel and soap” to remove the mark was later updated to include the product Magic Eraser, as in a sort of abrasive household cleaning pad with micro scrubbers, like sandpaper.

Deckenback said a witness reported it was the center director, herself, who suggested and then used the Magic Eraser on the screaming toddler.

“It is a cleaning product. It is not meant to be used on human skin, let alone a child, so it is incredibly upsetting for me to know that someone did not use common sense and was not honest about it, either,” Deckenback said.

Center director Marjorie Mallard declined to answer questions about the incident, but said, “It’s a safe place. I’ve been doing this for eight years. I’ve been trained by the best. We are working with the state and all of the regulatory agencies.”

Due to confidentially laws, the state Office of Child and Family Services would not confirm it’s an investigation, but inspection reports from two visits last week right after the incident are publicly posted.

Violations were noted in the categories of the character and habits of staff, the timely reporting of serious incidents, and providing immediate medical attention.

“Just be careful who you leave your children with,” Deckenback said.

The center’s license status is now pending revocation during the investigation.

And according to the state childcare website, the daycare center has also been removed from its referral list.