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Parents Say Staff Didn't Call 911 After Toddler's Finger Was Severed At Westchester Daycare Center

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Parents in Westchester County are outraged after they say their child's fingertip was severed while he was at daycare.

More alarming, the couple from Scarsdale says the staff didn't even call 911. Their claims sparked a state investigation, and CBS2 has learned the daycare center in question has dozens of violations.

At 21-months-old, Max Blank is your typical toddler with milk and playtime on the mind. He's without a care in the world, except for the severe pain in his hand after the gruesome accident.

His parents, Kathy and Jeff, say part of his pinky was cut off during daycare at The Learning Experience in Dobbs Ferry. A staff member explained in a December 11th phone call that a door at the center closed on his hand.

door where toddler's finger was severed
Photo of door that closed on Max's pinky finger. (credit: CBS2)

An incident report from the daycare claims it happened as a teacher ran after another student.

incident report from the learning experience dobbs ferry
Incident report from The Learning Experience in Dobbs Ferry. (credit: CBS2)

"There was no mention of the fact that the injury was so severe that he lost the tip of his finger," Kathy said.

Max's grandparents picked him up, and realized just how serious the wound was.

"She took the paper towel off, saw his exposed bone and saw the top of his finger had been severed... and they had it in a paper towel," Jeff said.

Max was rushed to a nearby hospital for emergency surgery. Luckily, doctors managed to reattach his finger tip.

"Just shocked and stunned," Kathy said. "The fact that this establishment wouldn't think to call 911."

"There's just level after level of errors in judgement and failures on behalf of the daycare," Jeff added.

The Blanks tell CBS2 a few days later they alerted the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, which launched an investigation into the daycare and wound up suspending its license.

State records show the facility, which is one of many across the country, had more than 60 violations in 2018. Authorities say the suspension, which closed several classrooms at the Dobbs Ferry location, went into effect on December 20th "due to serious incidents of inadequate supervision of children and a lack of both fully cleared and trained staff."

CBS2's Reena Roy spoke exclusively with an employee at the daycare who did not wish to be identified, and asked if they believe children are in danger at the facility.

"To a certain extent, yes," the staff member said.

The staff member also witnessed other concerning incidents.

"In the morning a teacher will give the wrong bottle by accident or it'll be another child who will be changed on the changing table and will just left be standing, and they turn around quickly to do something," the employee described. "They'll hold the child, but it just... you shouldn't not have your child, um, 100 percent on surveillance."

In a statement sent to CBS2, daycare spokesman Gregory Salsburg said:

"The supervisory staff member that had been in charge of day to day operations at the center has been terminated, and we have put in place executive team members with over 50 combined years of childcare experience."

The state has since lifted the suspension. Meantime, the Blanks are searching for new childcare and will be doing extensive research before placing little Max in someone else's hands again.

"The message, I think, is be vigilant in finding out who is taking care of your children," Jeff said.

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