Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What every mother should know before taking her baby or child to a gym child care




It has been nearly 2 months since our 6 month old daughter Mila was abused at the 24 hour fitness gym child care in Rancho Cucamonga, Ca.  I want to warn readers that there are graphic pictures of Mila and her marked and bruised legs that are disturbing.  My tears and baby kisses to ever single one of her bruises (which was over 30) does not take away the trauma that Mila and our entire family experienced as she healed physically and emotionally.  Mila has no voice, she is a baby so I am speaking out for her.  It is my goal to get proper licensing for these type facilities beyond the enticing and false advertising that moms can work out and leave their 6 month old babies with licensed personnel. Gyms get more contracts but at what cost?  I want our children safe and to find justice for Mila even if it is to warn and help protect other babies and children through sharing our heart breaking experience.  Thank you in advance for reading and sharing with others to find justice for Mila and other babies and children.  We are blessed to have wonderful friends and families who cried with us and prayed for Mila and our family as we went through this experience.  
On June 13th I signed myself up for a 24-hour fitness gym membership at the Rancho Cucamonga location on Foothill Boulevard and Rochester Avenue.  At the same time, I also signed my two youngest children up for the kids care center at the gym so that I could have them cared for while I work out.  I was surprised that they accepted babies at 6 months old and assumed they knew how to take care of them since they allowed babies that young.  I have 8 children and I have been blessed to be able to stay at home with them and raise them as opposed to working outside of the home and taking them to day care.  As you are probably aware, the news channels often circulate "day care horror stories" that mothers cringe at watching because it's sickening that someone would hurt an innocent child.  I know there are good licensed day care and child care facilities that love the children, but I do not believe anyone can love your child as much as the mother does.  The child care workers are sometimes detached and I believe this is how some children end up being abused.

On July 13th, I very trustingly left my baby that was 6 months old and my two year old at the child care facility at the 24-hour fitness location in Rancho Cucamonga on Foothill Boulevard and Rochester Avenue, obviously thinking everything would be completely fine and that my two kids would be safe.  After all, they accept babies that are 6 months old so I assumed that some screening, training and certifications were in place for individuals in charge of 6 month old babies.  My husband and I discussed taking them there so I could have some time to get back in shape after having my baby and have a couple hours to do that each day.  I told the employee where I would be in the gym thinking they would come get me when my baby woke up if I were needed for any reason.  She was sleeping in her car seat when I brought her in and dropped her off.   About 45 minutes into my work out I felt promoted, with mothers intuition if you will, to go check on my 6 month old baby.  I pushed the feeling away thinking.  "I'm sure she's fine they would have come to get me if she was crying". So I finished up and showered.  I even put on make up and changed my clothes there thinking there was finally circumstances that would allow me a bit of time to myself while my children were cared for properly.  I could have some "me" time and do something good for my body and get dressed for the day since being a mom of 8 that's often not the case.  I felt refreshed and was excited to pick my two babies up from the child care at the gym and it had been approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes since I had dropped them off.  My 6 month old baby was sitting on the hip of a young girl and had obviously been crying A LOT.  She has a "v-shaped" birthmark on her forehead and when she cries it typically turns purple if she gets upset.  I had never seen my daughters face look so distraught as when I picked her up from the child care facility.  She looked pale and was essentially just staring off into space.  I asked the worker "what happened?" I also asked them "how long was she crying for?"  A female worker  said she was crying for about 20-30 minutes.  Then I stated "Ummmm... ok why didn't you come get me I told you guys where I would be?"... "We handled it" she responded.  I noticed a red line mark on the top of her left thigh and I asked if my two-year-old went to her in her car seat and possibly scratched her or something.  I asked them "Did Roman scratch her?" as I look down at the mark on her leg touching it she says "no he was in his own world the whole time".  Then I said "Why is her hand all green did you give her a marker?"  She said "no we gave her something like this (holding up a yellow tissue paper)."  I was astonished at her response!  Did she eat the tissue paper I wondered? Who gives a 6 month old baby tissue paper? They put everything in their mouth!  I will say that the babies area is not to have any older children in it at all according to what I have been told.  They assure parents that your baby is in a specially-designated area that older children aren't allowed into.  I did notice that the 2 foot baby gate isn't a big deterrant I guess, because we found out later that a 5 year old and 12 year old were unsupervised while in with my baby and the 12 year old had her hands on my daughters legs and feet while she was in her car seat.

I questioned the child care worker for what seemed like 10 minutes trying to figure out when she woke up, how long she cried and why they didn't come and get me and during that time and it seemed like the worker was trying to change the subject because when I was asking questions about my daughter she asked twice if I had a good work out.  She also mentioned that they paged me twice when she was crying.  I answered yes both times to the workout question, but I wanted to find out what happened to my daughter Mila.  After all this interaction, I then left the child care area and talked to the front desk people for a few minutes letting them know I had some "me" time and was really excited to get to workout again after so long.  Then I went to my car, put Mila in her car seat and when we got to the car and I remember a panic look on her face when I put her in that was saying "don't leave me!".  I reassured her everything was ok and didn't think anything else of it.  Mila then fell asleep almost as soon as we drove out of the gym parking lot.  We then drove through Starbucks to get some treats for my 10 year old and his friends for his birthday.  When we got home Mila was sound asleep so I carried her and her car seat into the house and put the car seat with her in it on our blue couch in our living room.  The boys at our home for the party were being picked up by moms and the last child was picked up at 2:55 pm.  The door bell rang at 2:45 pm and our little dog barked and woke Mila up.  The mother and I talked for a little bit as I got Mila out of her car seat.  The Mother and I swooned over Mila and finally I said "Well I'm exhausted I'm going to feed Mila", and me and the boys were going to watch a movie together quietly.  She left at 3:00 pm, I nursed Mila and right after I nursed her she spit up! That's strange I thought since she does not typically spit up.  I asked my two year old to get a diaper for me so I could change mila's diaper.  As he ran to get one, I leaned her back on my lap and she pulled her feet to her mouth and started to play with her toes.  That's when I noticed what looked like red cut marks all over the backs of her thighs, legs and ankles.  There were two bruises on each thigh close to her diaper also.  I said out loud "what in the heck?!"






  I was in total shock so I drove back to the gym arriving not quite two hours after I left.  I was shaking and wanted some answers.  I went in and asked to talk to the child care workers but they had all gone home at 2 o' clock.  The front desk workers asked why I needed to talk to them and I held my baby up and showed them her legs.  They said wow they never seen anything like that happen.  I said "Maybe they had a watch on or bracelets that scrapped her.  She wiggles a lot when you hold her especially when she is hungry.  She is breast fed and she gets feisty and maybe they were holding her really tight because there's bruises and maybe they are finger nail marks from acrylics or something?"  They said "We can call the gym manager" and I said "ok yes I want to talk to them and see video tapes from the child care area and I'm calling the police."  The gym manager called and said the employees don't wear watches, no long finger nails, no jewelry at all.  And there's surveillance tapes that would be available to view for the police only until Monday and I would not be able to look at them.  She also mentioned the video footage is very fuzzy and pixelated and assumed nothing would be proven anyway.  The deputy sheriff came and after reviewing everything with him, he concluded that someone had abused my baby and he opened a criminal child abuse case at that time.  I left the gym at 8 pm that night.  Still in shock I held my baby close thinking about all that had happened.  More bruises started showing up as the day went on.  What? In. The.  World. Happened???  I didn't sleep at all that night.  I held her in my arms.  She still continued spitting up after I nursed her.  Sunday morning at 7 am I looked at her legs, the red marks were mostly gone leaving a scar type impression where the red lines were, but to my horror there were bruises everywhere the red lines were. 







 I quickly told my husband we need to go to the emergency room.  I don't know what they did to her and she has bruises on her stomach and her back on the right side and all over her legs.  We raced to the emergency room concerned that she had internal bleeding or damage, or that she could have been shaken.   Hours later after watching her and doing examinations, they let us know she has no signs of being shaken and that she seems ok and they are unsure how she was hurt, but it looked like someone was pinching her over and over and over.  Monday morning the bruises were worse and the video tapes were reviewed by the deputy sheriff.  One employee was wearing a watch and a 12 and 5 year old were unsupervised with my baby for at least 5 minutes.  The 12 year had her hands on my babies legs but it's not clear what she was doing.  She could have been playing with her or she could have been unknowingly (I hope) giving her love pinches or pinching her to hurt her.  I have no idea.  My worst fear is that one of the workers was pinching Mila because she was crying, only making things worse and traumatizing my baby.  The deputy specialized in child abuse and he said people actually hurt babies because they are crying and they don't know how to get them to stop crying.  And he knows that this is a horrible thing that happened to Mila but that she was still alive and that was the most important thing.  I cried all day Sunday, Monday and Tuesday waiting to hear sometime if justice for Mila would happen in some way.  The gym called and said they couldn't see anything in the videos because they aren't clear so they took the position that nothing happened and anything could have happened after I left the gym during the roughly 2 hours that I was gone and then came back to the gym.  The fitness manager Jordan told me no one was wearing a watch and they can't even see mila's face in the videos to see that she was even crying.  I said "Why did they page me twice then?" She said "They paged you 3 times  and you didn't come."  Why didn't they come get me?  I told them where I would be.  She then replied "Yes we're talking to them about making sure they don't do that again and instead get the parent."  That was surprising to hear to say the least.  The case has now been turned over to detectives at "crimes against children" and I have heard nothing from them for weeks now.  I called CPS and they can't help us because it's not in a home where this took place and they said to call the licensing entity for child cares. I called them and they said gym day cares are license exempt!  This was completely shocking! I called Trust Line, which is the company that 24-hour fitness uses to do back ground checks and they let me know there is no licensing for the gym and that the employees only need a background check.  That's it!  That explains why Mila was given paper and unsupervised because there is really no formal requirements or process to interview, qualify and train these child care employees properly.  This has been a very traumatic experience for our family to go through because its one of the worst things that can happen when a defenseless baby is harmed.  The sad thing is that this could have likely been avoided if the proper protocols were in place to ensure a qualified person at 24-hour fitness was giving the care to my 6-month old baby.  I hope something will be done to remedy this situation.  Thank you for your time.

Tammy Gallup

66 comments:

  1. I am so so sorry for what you're all going through but I am so relieved to have read that she is alive and will have no long term physical problems. We hear so often of stories like these ending in death so I was cringing as I read on waiting to hear her fate. I couldn't be more relieved that she is alive but that doesn't take away from the disgust I have for 24 Hour Fitness!!! I want to find that 12 year old so badly so we can ask her what she was doing. Was it innocent? Or does she have some underlying issues that cause her to do harm to others? If I were her mother, I would want to know what happened. For her sake, I hope that it was purely innocent but nonetheless, she really needs to be spoken to and I hope the police advocate for you. Mila is absolutely beautiful!!!! As a mom of a 7 month old, I put myself in your shoes as I can't even begin to imagine all that you're feeling. Hold your precious girl tight and keep fighting the fight!!! If there is anything I can do personally to help, PLEASE let me know!! Good luck and don't give up until you have #Justice4Mila and all the potential Mila's out there!!

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  2. Thank you for your story. My husband and I had plans to go to the exact gym with our son who will be 6 months in October and have now changed our plans. You have saved one child from abuse by sharing your experience.

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    1. I have been going to that gym with my 2 girls (4yrs and 17 mos) since both were 6 mos old and have never had anything bad happen to them

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  3. They actually love it there, and the employees always call me when they cry or need a diaper change

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  4. Like i said, i am very surprised they did not call you. Maybe cuz you were in the bathroom taking a ahower? They probably tried but couldnt find you.

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    1. I'm glad your children have had positive experiences there. My two year old had fun too. The workers did page me according to them 2 times according to the fitness manager Jordan 3 times. They did not come to find me when my baby cried which they were supposed to do. Paging doesn't really make sense to me since most people wear ear buds and listen to music when they work out. They asked me where I would be so they could find me if there was a problem. Whether I came when they paged me or not does not excuse the abuse and neglect my daughter experienced.

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    2. They knew u would be in the shower or the main gym because they asked and that's what I told them. There was no confusion about where I would be. They admitted they did not try to find me they only paged me.

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    3. I worked at 24 hour fitness in Utah. They can't just "come find you" do you want them to just leave the other kids unsupervised while they track you down because you are not answering a page? There are ratios in place so that one teacher is not watching too many children. They can't just leave the kids club. It is important for parents to listen for a page. I'm not saying what they did is okay because it's not and there should be proper punishment absolutely but your child is not the only one they were watching. They can't just leave the other kids to go gallivanting around to find you.

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  6. I just posted and can't see it, so I'll try again...have you thought about calling the news and getting an interview? Public pressure is wonderful at helping to change laws. Having just one child abused is enough to make changes...I am truly shocked that the gym doesn't protect itself by hiring qualified people. Lawyer up, girl. I know you...you are a driven, capable woman and an excellent mom. It's amazing what gets done when you publicize and get lawyers involved. Sad, but true. I am so sorry for your family and sweet little Mia.

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    1. We are in contact with 24 hour corporate office and they seem to be really concerned about what happened to Mila so it doesn't happen again which from what I've heard is not very common. Thank you xoxo

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  7. Yet another reason to boycott that dump. I cancelled my contract after a lengthy discussion with the manager regarding lack of soap in the men's room. I explained that 2 hours had gone by after I had asked them to fill the soap dispensers. I added that many people were having to leave the restroom with unwashed hands leading to spread of fecal matter on the gym machines. The manager went on and on about how much money they spend on soap and that I was being unreasonable for my request to have it filled in a timely fashion. The health dept and CPS need to shut that place down. I am glad your baby is okay now. God bless your family.

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    3. Omggggg I was just ab to let my baby Harper go to 24 hour day care ! Now I feel so scared to

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  8. The same thing happened to our little girl! Another toddler in the child care area pinched my daughter's legs repeatedly, leaving bruises and red nail marks. I was so
    angry but I couldn't do anything about it because it's an unsupervised child care area. I'm so sorry this happened to your baby.

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    1. Did the marks on your little girl look like milas? I'm so sorry that happened. I was shocked then so angry and then sad and very disgusted that someone would do this to a baby.

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  9. I just posted but not sure what happened to it ugh. But I am so happy to see Mila is doing great and that you have done all you could to get justice for Mila! I was going to this gym for about 2 months, twice a week following a Zumba instructor but everytime I would leave my daughter Camila aka Mila with them at this kids club i felt so uneasy that I would come back and try to look thru the window from the inside and even go outside and peek in. There was only 1 girl that worked there that made me feel ok about leaving her but the rest of the crew is always way too distracted and into their own stories instead of with the kids. I just recently was complaining to the my gym in Ontario how uneasy i felt leaving Mila with Rancho kids club. If you are looking for a good gym and a great kids club this is the place to go to. The girls there know the kids by name and are always interacting with them. Justice for Mila!

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  10. I went to 24 in ontario. When I picked my 15 month daughter up from kids club, they told me with a disgusted look on their face " oh btw, she played in the toilet." What? How was my 1 year old unsupervised in the bathroom? ( It's a separate little room) thank god she only "played" and didn't drown in the toilet. I was livid and never went back.
    It's horrible what happened to your baby girl, keep fighting for justice, since she cant.

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  11. This is so sad. Please keep on this. People may give you a hard time, or have other opinions of the daycare, but there's no excuse for them being licensed exempt. Just because someone else has a good experience in their daycare doesn't make this ok!

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  12. Oh well..my 1st post disappeared 😔. I normally don't read lengthy stories on FB but yours caught my eye, especially Mila's precious face. In reading your blog, it horrified me to realize that these caregivers have had no training, video cameras aren't working & possibly haven't been for awhile as you were told you wouldn't be able to see anything when viewing anyways, & other children unsupervised. I'm glad you've pushed on not only for Mila but for other children who could be in harms way. I plan to share this so we can get the word out. Hugs & prayers for you & your beautiful family!!

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  13. I shared your page in hopes that something can be done. The more they are exposed the better. I was in foster care for almost 7years. When we finally exposed the the family for abuse nobody would listen to us. The system has always been flawed. It continues to fail you and your family so many years later. I will keep posting this once a week to keep it going. BEST WISHES TO YOU AND YOUR BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN.

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  14. Share this to EVERY news channel, facebook, twitter, email etc etc etc this is NOT okay! I would post this also on Facebook as a sharable story!!! Share it on 24 hour fitness's websites too!! So sorry this happened to your angel!

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  15. Please continue to SHARE and add HASHTAGS so that EVERYONE can see this: I'm using #24HourFitness #RanchoCucamonga #24hr #24hour #24HourRancho #24HrRancho #ChildSafety #ChildEndagerment

    I'm so sorry this happened

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  16. Tammy, I am reminded of advice I was once given when I was a young mother. I wanted to return to school to get my nursing degree. I was having a difficult time finding a reliable person to leave my baby with while I took a chemistry class twice a week. I was told, "If you don't know someone well enough to trust them with the keys to your house, or car, don't trust them with your child." Needless to say, I didn't get my nursing degree until my children were in high school. It might be time to purchase a twin stroller and work out by pushing your little ones up a few hills every morning.

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    1. I love this idea. The thought of going to the gym was so much easier and convenient but its time to pull my big girl panties up and hike up this hills! I have a double stroller already so I can definitely do it!

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    1. Musiclovehappiness What is it that you think I'm personally gaining from sharing Mila's story? I genuinely want to know. Please Tell Me I'm not sure if you realize that your blogger profile shows that you created you account this month?? You look like a crazy stalker. You are blowing up my comments page and my email with delusional comments. I've come to the conclusion that you must be either one of the workers, or know the workers involved in this case or maybe you are family of one of the workers. In any case, I do not believe you spoke to ANYONE in risk management at 24 hour fitness' s corporate office. I know for a fact Deputy Deloria of the San Bernadino Sheriffs department nor the detectives at crimes against children department would not release any information about a child abuse case. Child abuse cases are not available to the public probably because of people that act erratic and crazy such as yourself and start stalking victims families and the victim. 24 hour fitness corporate office seems to be very genuine in remedying the abuse and neglect my daughter experienced at their establishment. They seem very interested in insuring other children and babies are never hurt or neglected again. Call Stephanie in risk management at 24 hour fitness corporate office, she won't give you any information but you can try, your obviously obsessed. If your interested in the deputy's direct phone number i'd be happy to give it to you, he will not discuss this case with you, but your welcome to try because again your obviously obsessed probably because like I said your defending someone (or yourself) involved in this case.

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  20. How awful! I'm so sorry for your baby and what you all have gone through. I worked there when I was 19 and had zero training. It was just like any other job application. While I didn't abuse any children I also was probably too inexperienced to be in there! Now as a mother I don't think I would leave my children in that environment. I hope you get justice for your sweet baby!

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  22. So happy to see Mila is doing great and that you have done all you could to get justice for Mila! Great post thanks from babies

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  25. Thank you for your story. Moms, ever feel guilty for doing something just for you? Feel pressure to do it all but feel you lost something along the way to motherhood and/or marriage? JoJo's been there. She can help.

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  26. God bless your family and thank God Mila wasn't hurt as bad as she could have been. Stories like this truly break my heart and confirm my gut feeling about not leaving my children with strangers working in daycare. Thank you for sharing your experience as it is a warning to all mothers thinking about leaving their children with people who work at day care facilities...

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    1. thank you, mila is almost 2 and it feels like this happened yesterday. It is still upsetting to me that this happened to her :'(

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  27. The issue is something which not enough people are speaking intelligently about.
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  28. Licensed or not, what kind of mother abandons her newborn with a complete stranger for so long without once checking in on her knowing it's a new environment for her as well ? May your child never pay for your ignorance again.

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  29. Thank you for your concern about Mila. Mine and my husbands decision to trust a gym daycare and Mila being hurt as a result is something I still struggle with everyday more than a year later. While it's extreme to use the word abandon and neglect regaurding my decision when I was 10-20 feet away and my other child was with her as well to help her feel familiar, and the workers said they would come get me if she cried, I do agree babies shouldn't be cared for in a gym daycare to begin with. I have never taken any of my 8 children to any type of daycare or had many babysitters outside of family and maybe a close friend to watch the kids for a few hours. I'm glad you would never do that. I think shaming and judging other mothers is really tacky and it's mean. If anyone who has read my post has not taken their babies to gym daycares and prevented any possible further abuse then I've helped a little bit by sharing our story.

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  30. Hi just read your story, I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter , and so shocked about all the negative comments people have to say. Please do not feel to blame for this . Regardless of what happened it was the gyms responsibility to care for your daughter -why?- because it is a child care facility ! I have been to this gym and even considered taking my child there . Now after reading your story I have changed my mind and I am so glad that I have . There is no excuse for what happened to your daughter whether it was one of the workers or even an older child that abused your daughter, there is no excuse and it should have never happened under their care . I wish the best for your beautiful daughter .

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  31. Hi just read your story, I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter , and so shocked about all the negative comments people have to say. Please do not feel to blame for this . Regardless of what happened it was the gyms responsibility to care for your daughter -why?- because it is a child care facility ! I have been to this gym and even considered taking my child there . Now after reading your story I have changed my mind and I am so glad that I have . There is no excuse for what happened to your daughter whether it was one of the workers or even an older child that abused your daughter, there is no excuse and it should have never happened under their care . I wish the best for your beautiful daughter .

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