Last month, a toddler wandered away from the child care area of a Gold's Gym in San Antonio, ending up in the parking lot where a man found her near a busy road, according to a report from Fox San Antonio. Because of the incident, the child's mother wants the state to strengthen oversight for child care areas at gyms.
The incident happened at about 7 p.m. on March 26. The mother, Amber Katko, finished her workout and went to the child care room to pick up her 16-month-old daughter, but she could not find her in the room. When she asked the employees about her daughter, they did not know where she went.
"They didn't even know she was missing," Katko told the TV station.
The management at Gold's Gym apologized to the mom and offered the following statement: "We are very sorry for the stress this has caused the family involved in this incident and are taking this matter extremely seriously."
According to the TV report, Gold's Gym management told Katko that they were taking steps to ensure such an incident never happened again. Managers at the gym have not responded to inquiries from Club Industry about the actions the facility has undertaken, but a manager from the facility told Fox San Antonio that the gym has fired the associates responsible, increased staff training and made repairs to the facility.
After learning that gym child care centers are not regulated by the state of Texas, Katko told Fox San Antonio that she plans to contact lawmakers about increasing oversight and accountability at gym child care areas. According to an article in USA Today, it's unclear how many child care centers in gyms are unregulated nationwide, but 12 states grant license exemptions to child care centers with short-term care, and eight states exempt centers from licenses if a parent is on the premises.
"We were very lucky that she was OK," Katko told the TV station, adding that as small as her daughter was, she could have been backed over by a car as she wandered through the parking lot.