Daycare nightmare ... Carers encouraged fight between children, police say.

Daycare nightmare ... Carers encouraged fight between children, police say. (Photo posed by models)

Three US childcare workers have been arrested after encouraging children in their care to punch and slap each other as they filmed the fight and cheered them on.

The three Delaware women - Lisa Parker, 47, Tiana Harris, 19, and Estefania Myers, 21 - were charged with two counts of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, and nine counts of endangering the welfare of a child on Monday.

In the footage, taken on a mobile phone, two three-year-olds can be seen fighting, with seven other children in the room. When one child yells, “He’s pinching me” a daycare worker responds, “No pinching, only punching.’”

Arrests made ... Tiana Harris, Lisa Parker and Estefania Myers

L-R: Tiana Harris, Lisa Parker and Estefania Myers

As the children fought, Harris and Myers were “shown and heard laughing and encouraging the altercation,” police said.

“Clearly one of the children is crying and does not want to continue on and he is pushed back into the fray by one of the adults,” Dover Police Captain Tim Stump told a local TV station.

The minute-long footage was recorded in March, and arrests were made after a police officer was shown the video last weekend.

Amy Bickling, mum to a four-year-old enrolled at the daycare, said she couldn't believe it had had happened. She described the center as a clean, well-run facility with friendly staff.

“It’s very disturbing to think anything like that could go on,” she said. “I know these teachers. I go on all the field trips. I’ve never seen anything irregular.”

Officials have suspended the licence of their employer, the Hands of Our Future daycare.

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