'I went with my gut feeling and didn't put my son in Hyde and Seek crèche'
I'm devastated for those who put trust in chain, writes Becky Fiederer
I visited Hyde and Seek's Millbourne Avenue branch last year, to see if it would be suitable for our almost two-year-old son.
Did I see the issues highlighted on RTÉ's documentary? Did I see milk being diluted, tots eating instant noodles, crying babies left in high chairs, toddlers roughly handled and shouted at?
Of course not. I would have been straight down to the Garda station.
But I did get a "vibe" that didn't quite sit right with me.
This branch of the crèche chain was not featured in the documentary 'RTÉ Investigates - Crèches, Behind Closed Doors'.
At the time I visited, it appeared small and cluttered.
There seemed to be a lot of children in the small building already, with more due for the after-school service. I didn't get the feeling that this would be the best place for my lovely boy.
For me, Hyde and Seek didn't measure up to other crèches we had seen over the years (my now five-year-old daughter had also attended a crèche for three years, and we were happy with the care she received there).
Following that visit, I did some research and discovered owner Anne Davy's previous conviction after a three-year-old boy was left behind in a playground.
So, after talking it over with my fiancé, we decided against sending our son to Hyde and Seek - I followed my gut.
For us, it was important to hold off on a crèche setting for both our kids until they were around two; an age where, I feel, they are more able to let you know when something is wrong.
Personally, I don't think a busy crèche is the best setting for a tiny baby. We went for a childminder instead, where our kids got more one-on-one attention.
Having no family in Dublin to help out, my partner and I also ensured we arranged our work schedules in such a way that we got to do as much of the minding as possible ourselves.
It meant we rarely had a day off together - but I'd rather that than have the kids away from both parents for an extra day.
I realise all this may not be an option for many parents, and I am heartbroken for anyone who did trust Hyde and Seek.
When you chose a crèche, you are going to believe at the very least that the people looking after your child have all the required qualifications and have been Garda vetted.
You expect your children to be safe and cared for.
Unfortunately, for some unscrupulous crèche owners, having your kids in their care seems to be nothing more than a business transaction.
We can't assume that the kids are alright - so it has never been more important to trust your instinct.