An Indianapolis area woman is shedding light on some athletic club’s allegedly less than safe childcare practices in hopes that she can help enact some change. Katie Lyman was employed at her local LA Fitness Kidz Klub where she said in her short time working there the conditions were unfit for children. The mother of two documented "dangerous" conditions including broken and filthy toys, and unsanitary bathroom and play area conditions. After continually bringing the conditions to the attention of management, Lyman claims was fired after just two weeks on the job.
Lyman herself is a mother of two and told her local news station, RTV6 Indianapolis, that she was immediately surprised by the childcare conditions at the LA Fitness Kidz Klub. "I knew right off the bat, something was just a little off," said Lyman. "The first couple of days, I had kids just running around crazy, being violent, and there weren't any specific rules. We had food and drink mix-ups with cups and binkies. " She also stated that on one day, in particular, she was responsible for 17 children on her own. "All of them were under the age of six," said Lyman. "It was chaos."
In a post on Facebook, Lyman wrote that she had contacted gym management multiple times about the dirty play area that didn’t even separate infants from toddlers and older children. "I was just worried for all the kids' safety," Lyman told the news station. "I didn't want to be the one for something to go wrong on my watch. Someone was going to get hurt or get sick."
Not only did Lyman bring in a baby gate from home in hopes of creating a barrier between infants and older children, but she also brought in her own cleaning supplies. "I brought in my own Lysol wipes and sprays," said Lyman. "I tried to do as much as I could."
In her Facebook post, Lyman writes that “With less than 24-hour notice before my next shift I was given a phone call stating that we would have to “separate” because my requests were unable to be met at this time. I’m concerned a child in that facility is going to be seriously injured or sick due to the lack of concern by management and Kidz Club employees in regards to sanitation, cleanliness, organization and general childcare common sense.”
RTV6 contacted the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) which licenses and regulates childcare in the state and discovered what Lyman calls a ‘loophole’ that many parents may not be aware of.
According to the FSSA, childcare facilities that care for children less than four hours per day and not in consecutive days, like athletic club childcare facilities, are exempt from the rules and regulations that govern other childcare facilities.
"I don't think parents know there aren't any codes to keep up on, and there's no one monitoring the cleanliness," Lyman told the news station. "They're not regulated in any way."
The news station reached out to LA Fitness for a comment but hadn’t heard back. Lyman says all she wanted was to make the kidz club cleaner and more regulated for kids, and for parents to know where they’re leaving their children for care. “My intention is to shed a light on what nonsense is going on at the Southport LA Fitness facility and to notify parents and patrons of the scary conditions kids are being subjected to for no reason,” she wrote on Facebook. “I tried my hardest to make it a better place but was in turn fired... Fired for a high work ethic. Crazy, huh?”