Day care worker caught on camera kicking a sleeping toddler (VIDEO)

Jan 22, 2015 at 9:00 p.m. ET

A Florida day care worker has been arrested after a surveillance camera picked up her kicking a sleeping toddler in the face to wake her up.

Warning: The video above is disturbing and graphic.

A mother dropped her healthy and uninjured 15-month-old daughter off at day care, and when she picked her up at the end of the day, she noticed her toddler had bruises and other marks on her head and face. She was understandably upset and filed a report with the local police department, who found evidence that a day care worker had deliberately injured the child.

Surveillance video at the child care facility shows employee Linda Klem, 49, kicking the little girl in the head, face and bum to wake her up. She was sleeping on the floor and not in a crib, playpen or bed, and it's heartbreaking to see her tiny body twitch with each blow. Klem has been arrested, charged with child abuse and is currently out on bond while she awaits her trial.

"I was appalled, devastated," said the facility's owner, Rhonda Sweatland. "She's worked here with me for four years, and I never would have expected anything like this out of her."

I can't imagine what this poor mother is going through. When you choose a day care for your child, you decide on a facility where you feel your child will get the care and love she needs. Knowing your child was not only neglected but injured on purpose has to be devastating.

I'm thankful her girl wasn't more seriously injured, and I'm grateful there was a camera running in the room so there is absolute proof that Klem abused the child. Chances are high, however, that her mother is going to have a hard time finding another child care provider, because her trust has been completely destroyed.

Preying on and harming those in your care who are too little or too ill to tell the tale is so despicable. I hope this woman is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and receives an appropriate punishment.

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