21 Month Old Bitten by Another Boy Second Time in Daycare - What Should I Do????

Updated on August 31, 2012
C.C. asks from Crown Point, IN
31 answers

Yesterday picked up my boy who I was told by the worker there that he was bit on the arm by an older boy who has been aggressive before. He had about 4 sets of teeth impressions on his arm. I was told they wrote up an incident report and his parents were notifiied. They iced my boys arm. Didn't look like the skin was broken - didnt see any blood but could definately see teeth impressions and it was red and swollen. Should i take him to doctor? A neighbor of mine told me I should get him to doc - in which they will notify the police on matters like this, and to get him out of the daycare and to hire a lawyer and sue the parents and the daycare. I think this is going to extremes but was wondering your thoughts. Am I taking this too lightly??? Other than these 2 incidents (which I'm not really sure if the same kid bit him or they are 2 seperate cases) we have been very happy with the daycare which is licensed.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Biting is just one of those things that happens. Some kids bite and it only takes a second for it to happen. Unless a caregiver is shadowing the biter constantly (and sometimes that is necessary) biting can happen, and it can happen even then. My son was only bitten once or twice at his daycare and I was so much happier that I had the bitee than the biter. Most centers will not tell you which kid is biting and I think they are absolutely right about this.

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answers from Portland on

You did not get a call when the incident happened? This exact thing happened to us when my son was an infant and we moved childcare immediately. What else are they not telling you that happens throughout the day?

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answers from Charlotte on

Well, your neighbor is one of the reasons that there is such a huge cry for tort reform.

What would you be saying if YOUR child were a biter? You wouldn't think much of your neighbor if that were the case.

Children fall into 2 categories where this is concerned - they are biters or they are the ones who are bitten. Some kids who stay home and don't go to daycare or spend time with other toddlers and don't have siblings never bite or get bitten. But it's the luck of the draw for parents, C.. Your next child might be the biter getting incident reports written up, and you'll be wringing your hands over it.

It's a child's personality, it has to do with frustration and ability to communicate, lots of factors. My kids were the ones that got bitten - I never had a biter. But I do understand about kids biting. That didn't make me feel any better as a parent, mind you.

The center has at least some protocol about it - they wrote a report and told you. Now go ask the director what the rest of their protocol is. They should be giving the child who was bitten lots of loving attention in front of the biter. They should put the biter in timeout and show NO attention to him. They should LEARN the signs (there ARE signs) and watch him like a hawk. The moment he shows the signs they should redirect him.

Also, for biters who seem to need to BITE something, a rubber tube attached to the shirt seems to help. One of my daycares did that. It was a last resort for a child that was going to be asked to leave if the biting didn't stop. They would look for the signs and then tell the child to bite his tube. It did help, and as he learned to talk more, and bit the tube, biting children stopped.

The parents of the biter need to talk to their child. They need to CARE that their child is hurting others. It won't stop the child from biting, but it will help the child START to learn not to.

These are all things that need to be done. So talk to the director about what I have said here. All these were employed by fine daycares.

And for heavens sake, you should distance yourself from your neighbor. When she "accidentally" falls on your property and scratches her knee, she's going to serve you with a lawsuit. Save the police and lawyer for something like what we read earlier - a middle school boy accosting a girl on the school bus and demanding that she give him oral sex. Now THAT'S something to call the police about and have a lawyer threaten the parents over. Not toddlers biting each other.


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answers from Dallas on

Kids get bitten every day in every daycare. It's nobody's fault. Kids bite. End of story. He's not seriously injured. He got bitten. He'll be ok and so will you. If you feel like it's not the right place for him then feel free to find another daycare, but that doesn't guarantee that he won't get chomped on somewhere else.

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answers from Portland on

Your neighbor obviously doesn't live in your reality, do they? ;)

Here's my perspective (as someone who spent a long time working with little ones): if you trust the teachers and feel they are relatively on top of things, let it go. This is VERY age-typical behavior, the teachers were very clear in their communication with you and are documenting what has happened, the parents were called and this was brought to their attention: all of these are things I would want to see happen if my child had been bitten in this way. This alone would have been enough to alleviate my concerns. (You didn't mention if they had washed your son's arm, and I also would have done this whether or not the skin was broken.)

Now, if I felt I needed to check in, here's what I would do: have a conversation with the lead teacher and explain your concerns that your child has been bitten twice by the same child. I would ask if the child who is biting is being shadowed, or what other actions are being taken to prevent repeated bites. Are other children being bitten, or is your child being targeted? Michelle G's suggestion of empowering your child to say "no bite!" firmly and loudly is a good one.

Biting is, unfortunately, very typical at this age. It sounds like you are handling this very well. I remember one mother whom I used to nanny for; once, when her child was bitten, she replied "well, I'd rather have my child get bitten than be the biter". Some people feel differently, but I think I'm in her camp.

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answers from Boise on

Neighbor is crazy. It's preschool and as others have pointed out biting is very normal in little children. As long as the issue is being addresses and not ignored I would just move on from it.

since your son has been on the receiving end of it twice, I would just ask that they preschool keep your son and little boy separated until the biting is brought under control.

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answers from Kansas City on

I am a childcare provider and the fact that he had 4 sets of teeth marks is really a concern. I know from experience there is a particular scream that comes from kiddos that are being bitten and I run to find the victim and the biter. Ask some questions about how the biter is being watched, etc.

Give your son permission and the skills to protect himself. Teach him that if this happens again, with the same kiddo or anyone else, that he should thrust that person away firmly and shout "NO BITE". That should get the attention of the caregiver so that she will be on the look out that "the shark" is prowling. I've had several biters in my care and unfortunately my younger son was a biter, about all you can do is keep a close eye on that kiddo and try to distract and help them with using thier words rather than biting.

The silly kids show Yo Gabba Gabba has a great song that we use a lot, it's called "Don't Bite Your Friends". It is a very plain, simple and clear song that we use for everything: hitting, biting, pulling hair, etc. I'll bet you could find it on Youtube.


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answers from Washington DC on

Skin is not broken so there is no need for a doctor visit. I know it is awful when you find out your child has been hurt in anyway at all, but really, its not that serious. If a kid at school pushes him down, would you expect that kid to be kicked out and then sue everybody? No right? Biting is the same thing. Not sure why it elicits such an emotional response in the adults. As long as the daycare is working towards managing this, I would say to move on. My son is in daycare too and I remember being very upset about him getting bitten the first time but I read up about it and found that it is very normal behaviour and I talked to the director about it and I felt comfortable with their policies and procedures, so I moved on. Most daycares won't tell you who did the biting, so you probably dont know if this is a first tiime offender or a repeat offender. You have to trust that you have selected an excellent daycare, and if you dont, move to a new on asap. A good daycare will keep you informed and work with you as much as possible to make sure the issue is resolved and that you are comfortable with the process. If you are not getting that, then leave, but I got the impressing you are otherwise happy, so I would say try not to overreact to this too much. Also, kids should not be kicked out of daycare unless their behavoiur is very extreme and all measures have been taken to resolve it. Good daycares dont just kick little kids out!! This is part of the learning and growing process and good darecares should be working with the children & their parents to help correct behaviours, not just kick them out. Be kind or karma just might provide you the next biter!

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answers from Sacramento on

Your neighbor is a crackpot and knows nothing about children.

Kids biting in daycare is not uncommon. Not all kinds do it but many of them do and for many different reasons. It sounds as though your provider is handling the situation properly, but if you aren't sure what they are doing for prevention, ask them. The skin wasn't broken so there is no reason to take him to the Dr.

The parents probably feel terrible. Having been on both sides of this issue, as a parent of a kid who bit others, my kids having been bit and being a provider, I can tell you that biting happens quickly and is hard to prevent... and everyone feels terrible. The providers should be closely shadowing the child that is biting to prevent and supporting him with things to chew on (if it's his teeth) or teaching language if it's frustration... being aware of when he's hungry or tired, being aware if he is targeting one specific child or if he/she's doing it in certain situations, and being there to prevent a bite.

Good luck~

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

Well C., it seems that your son was not bitten for the "second time" at daycare, but the 5th time. You did say that he had four sets of teeth impressions, yes? That is excessive and I would expect an explanation from the daycare provider as to why they weren't separated after the first set of bite marks appeared.

I would not go so far as what your friend said to do, but I would definitely take pictures of the marks and speak to the daycare about what they can do to protect your son. If the skin breaks, yes, take your son to the doctor.

Your neighbor is extreme, but I am troubled by the general idea that biting is no big deal. It can get to be a huge deal and can be very traumatic to a little one who gets bit over and over.

Your neighbor is extreme and shouldn't be listened to, but to disregard it is extreme on the other end of the spectrum. Deal with this in a firm and rational manner and kindly let your daycare know that you expect that your son not come home with several bite marks on his skin in the future. Poor kiddo!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

Can we say your neighbors are "sue happy" or what? Unless the kid bit off a chunk of your son's arm, I think that is extreme. Biting in preschool is pretty common, and I'd like to think that the preschool and the biter's parents are going to try to handle this accordingly.

I'd contact the director of your daycare and address your concerns and asked to for your child to be moved to another class (if they are in the same class). If that is not an option, you need to make it ultimately clear that you do not want your child around the biter whether it's in class or on the playground.

Sorry you're having to go through this!

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answers from Washington DC on

they definitely need to watch the biter MUCH more carefully and separate him if necessary. it may even be necessary (sadly) for them to boot him out
but suing the parents and daycare? that's ridiculous.
sometimes kids bite. it should never be taken lightly and must always be swiftly and sternly dealt with. and in a good daycare they will be, and it sounds as if you have a good one.
your neighbor is a little hysterical.

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answers from Dallas on

Don't listen to that crazy woman!!!

How long has your son been at this daycare? Biting happens with little ones, unfortunately. (Especially, in daycare.) If you have been there a while and have just these two incidents, I would not leave the daycare! They handled the situation according to protocol, which I think were appropriate actions. I have never taken a bitten child to the doctor, myself. I think there is nothing wrong with your daycare, and your neighbor is more then extreme.

If it happens again, you can request action. Moving the child, or whatever you feel comfortable with. If this child has bitten before, I suspect they will kick him out the next time. If you have ANY concerns about this current incident, take it up with your director. get a copy of the incident report, and have a chat with them.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

No need for a doctor's visit. Police over a toddler bite? Are you kidding?

Anyway, it can't hurt to check in with the director to see if it's a chronic issue with one child and if so, how they plan to handle it. Some places will assign a shadow to a problem child to prevent him from biting. But if there isn't a chronic biter, then it's just one of the toddler things.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Your neighbor needs to shut the hell up (pardon my French!). First off, a bite from another child will not permanently damage or hurt your child, and I very highly doubt that the doctor would be reporting it to anyone. What absurdity & what a bad neighbor for trying to get your fired up & stir the pot.

This is normal for that age range. You can try another daycare, but it will probably happen there. Just be happy that your child is not the biter. 2 bites is honestly nothing, compared to what we experienced. This too, shall pass.

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answers from Kalamazoo on

I would be most concerned that the kid bit him 4 times before the daycare staff pulled the biter off him. Just talk to the daycare staff about your concerns and like many people already said, biting it not unusual at this age. If it didnt break the skin theres no need for a doctor visit. I would ask the daycare to call you immediately in the future if something like this happens.

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answers from San Antonio on

At the very least, take pictures of it, and request a copy of the incident report. If the boy didn't break skin, I wouldn't worry about taking him to the doctor. If the swelling doesn't go down, or gets worse or anything, then take him to the doctor.

As far as suing everybody...really? They've dealt with the situation. They didn't try to cover it up. I don't see any reason to sue the parents or the daycare.

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answers from Seattle on

Your neighbor is waaaaayyyy overreacting. I'm thinking maybe she doesn't have kids (or has complete amnesia). A doctor? The skin wasn't even broken. Police? Are you kidding me?

Some little ones are biters, especially before they are very verbal. In daycare settings, particularly, kids will sometimes bite other kiddos. This is not at all uncommon. And the standard procedure at our daycare is to write up an incident report that you see at the end of the day. I'd be very surprised to get a call from the daycare provider unless they thought a visit to the doc was necessary. It's good that they told the other parents of the incident (this doesn't always happen).

Basically, talk to the daycare providers. See if this is a repeat offender kiddo. If so, make sure that the providers are giving that child a bit more supervision during free play time.

ETA: I wrote too much. If doing this post again, I would simply say "Ditto what Bethyskids said."

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answers from Detroit on

Your neighbor is WAY overreacting. My son got bit two or three times by the same boy at his daycare when he was younger. It was just a phase. The boys other felt TERRIBLE and cried because her son had done it, but I think it just goes with the territory. The boy wasn't overly aggressive, but since he and my son were always playing together, it just happened that my son was the one that got bit.

The workers there were great and separated him and informed the child's mom, but didn't call me about it. Just told me when I picked him up. I didn't feel it warranted a call. I mean, really what am I going to do about it while I am at work?

I wouldn't stress about it unless it continues to happen.

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answers from Boston on

Okay, I think that your neighbor is getting a bit extreme. Young children have no impulse control. I think that the daycare handled it appropriately, and I suspect that if it happens again, (assuming that it is the same child doing the biting) they will be sent home. But toddlers and preschoolers sometimes bite, hit, and kick. They're learning appropriate behavior and limits. I wouldn't say let it continue, and I would definitely want to know what was being done to prevent it from happening again, but I wouldn't start any threats of legal action... at least not yet. I'm sure that the daycare has dealt with issues like this before, and can tell you what their policy is.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

If every parent did that there would be massive people living in the streets and thousands dying from exposure and starvation. WHY you ask? Because every single source of child care would be out of business in a matter of days. It is normal for toddlers to bite and they are going to keep getting bitten for some time. Until kids reach about 3 years of age everything is about how stuff feels in their mouth, how it tastes, etc....that is why small toys are a choke hazard. Kids under 3 years of age are oral and put everything in their mouths. It is also a common way for kids to express their frustration when they are tired, hungry, getting picked on, needing to go someplace quieter, all kinds of reasons.

Toddlers bite, every toddler will bite at least once and some will bite numerous times per day every day for weeks and maybe even months.

If you want to see if you can find an attorney that won't laugh at what you say until they realize you are serious I say go for it. But I expect they will tell you that since it is a part of children's nature to bite that they will not take your case.

It is not neglect even if it happens every day. It would happen even if you were standing there with your son. It happens that fast and often the kids will start crying and no one will be able to tell why until the arm starts to show either indentations or bruising.

If the skin is broken and there is signs of infection that is when you take them to the doc. There is no need what so ever unless it is infected. The human mouth is a dirty place but if the person's system fights off any infection then a doc does not need to be seen. They would most likely not even make an appointment with you over this since it's the start of flu season and they really need to keep the office open for sick people.

Biting will happen at every center or home care business you take your child to because it is universal, almost ALL kids bite. Those that don't are very very very few and far between.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Your neighbor is overreacting. Notify the police? Sue the parents? Seriously?! Has your neighbor ever been around toddlers??? They bite sometimes. It sucks. Especially if your child is the one receiving the bite. Children at this age do not usually have the vocabulary to appropriately vent their emotions and frustrations and some resort to biting. Typically it is just a stage and as they mature they will grow out of it. The daycare workers should be trained and knowledgeable about this sort of thing. (I was a preschool teacher for over 8 years and remember taking classes on this topic.) In most cases it is possible to prevent biting with the proper classroom environment and supervision.

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answers from San Antonio on

It happens...it goes with the ages of the children...don't get to sure of yourself because your child may be the one getting written up for biting someone else.

It goes around and then stops.

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answers from Washington DC on

I don't think I would sue. These things some times happen. I'm surprised that they notified the biters parents and not you. My center always called when my son was injured either by his doing or another kid.

As for the kid biting others in class. When my son was in a center, there was one kid that bit him 2 - 3 times. Always during snack time. After the third time I asked the teachers what was going on? Is my kid grabbing his snack or something? Turned out that the two boys had seats next to each other during snack time. The biter would finish his snack and if my son hadn't finished his snack, the biter would then try to take my son's which is where my son would get bit. Here's a thought ladies. Move them. Either move the boys to opposite ends of the table, or to two different tables, because obviously sitting them next to each other isn't working for my son. Oh, yes, we can do that. So the teachers moved the boys to opposite ends of the table, and the kept an eye on the biter during snack. We had no more biting problems.

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answers from Washington DC on

I would talk to the daycare and ask them what they are doing to protect your son. Most daycares have a biter policy and they may soon ask the boy to go somewhere else. My friend's DD was asked to leave after she bit other children and did not stop. If the bite did not break the skin, I would not be inclined to take him to the doctor. Likely it will bruise and be gone in a few days. My DD was bitten by my cousin's cousin's child at a family event and it looked pretty nasty - but my aunt (retired nurse) said it didn't break the skin, put ice on it, and we gave DD ibuprofen. Suing people is way overboard and your friend needs to calm down. Kids of a certain age bite (my dd did). The problem is when a child is bitten repeatedly or if it particular child is often the perpetrator. So just talk to the daycare about your concerns for your son and go from there. If you are otherwise happy with them, work with them.

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answers from Dover on

If the skin is not broken, there is no need to take him to the doctor. Ice it if it's sore.

Talk to the director and find out what the procedure is for cases like this (even though it involves your son they probably can't talk specifics as to their discipline of this particular child). Does the biter get x number of warnings before being kicked out? What is being done to protect your child and others from being bitten by this boy (and any other biters)?

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answers from Champaign on

Your daycare should have a biting policy. For example, if a child bites another child X many times in a week then the discipline is X. The center should then work with the teachers and parents of the biter to work on identifying what triggers the biting and map out a plan for resolving it. If the biting continues and all courses of action have not helped, then the child should be asked to leave the center. You should not be suing the parents or the center unless they are being grossly neglegent.

Unfortunately my son is a biter but does it infrequently and always in situations where another child is invading his space or taking something from him. Children this age don't have the communications skills to verbalize their frustrations so they do what they know how to do to defend themselves or communicate. I have been horrified when I receive the report that he has bitten someone and have been working closely with the teacher to identify the triggers for the biting. If someone were to take legal action against me because my 16 month old was biting, I would be beside myself. All the expert advice I have read on this topic (and I've read a lot because I do not want my kid to be "the biter"), says that the best you can do is identify the triggers and try to avoid them (such as being overtired, hungry, in pain from teething, etc), redirect the child when you see a possible incident in the making and if a bite happens remove the child and tell them "no bite" and give all the attention to the child that's been bitten. This doesn't leave a lot of options for the parent.

I think that as long as the center is taking action with the parents of the biter and the parents of the biter are doing their share to try to stop the behavior, then they are doing all that they can do. If the biting continues and the biter has not been asked to leave the center, then I suggest finding another center that has more strict policies on the matter.

In regard to going to the doctor, I think as long as no skin was broken then your child is probably fine. If it begins to look infected, then absolutely have it checked out.



answers from Chicago on

No, you do not need to take him to the doctor. Not ever for a bite. I've been doing daycare for 25+ years and there has never been a bite that warranted a doctor visit. The only one that would is if a chunk of flesh was removed and it was a gaping wound (think of that boxer who bit the ear off his opponent type thing). You can not transmit any more germs from biting then you would just by breathing. I have had this confirmed by multiple doctors.
Notifying the police? Are you kidding? (you being the neighbor in this case) OMG, no, no, no. They will not do any more then tell you to put ice on it. In fact they would only tell you to come in to get money for the visit honestly. Sueing the parents and the daycare? For what? Having an age appropriate behavior happen? Yes, that is going to extremes.

Biting happens. It doesn't matter if the provider is RIGHT THERE (literally with child in my arms I have had them lean over and bite another in a split second with no warning). It does not indicate neglect of care. In fact chances are your child will bite some day. I thought I had lucked out with my older one, but she started at age 6 LOL. (boy was teasing her and this other girl, other girl said she would give my daughter candy if she bit the boy, she was 6, so she did what the older girl said to do)

No you are not taking it too lightly, you are responding just fine. It's not a dog who bit, it's another child. Suggest to the provider that she attaches a teething toy to the biter, and use tylenol/orajel cause it's almost always teething related.



answers from Chicago on

My daycare had us agree that if our kids bit anyone, she was allowed to spray apple cider vinegar in their mouths. According to her, her pediatrician said most kids would stop biting the second they tasted it and since it's not poison (like soap), there is no harm in giving children a squirt in their mouths. We agreed and sure enough, it took one squirt and no more bites. She has all her daycare parents agree to this and she has no biting problems at all.

It works for kids who spit (blow raspberries) in other kids faces.

My sister took her infant child to a Montessori school and they had a huge biting problem there and she mentioned the vinegar to them and they have now incorporated the one spray policy as well and the kids have also stopped biting. When her sons pretends to bite my kids, all my sister has to do is say "Adam!" and he will say "no biting, no vinagar".

My sister took her kid to a Montisori school and they had a huge biting problem there and she mentioned the vinagar to them and they have now incorporated the one spray policy as well and the kids have also stopped biting.



answers from Chicago on

Hi C., We had a similar incident when my son was in daycare. He was bit multiple times by the same child. If they know that this boy who is biting is aggressive the daycare needs to be sure he is properly supervised. They need additional support in the room your child is in. This is a normal issue that happens at this age, HOWEVER, you need to stay on top of it and be sure the daycare is providing additional supervision. You can certainly call the doctor if you're unsure of how to handle. Sounds like your neighbor is confusing a child bite with a dog bite. I've never heard of anyone suing over a child biting another child. Good luck!



answers from Columbus on

Biting is a reality of life at this age. You can make plans, try to avoid triggers, etc., but it will still happen. I personally would avoid daycare at this age. An excellent nanny would be a better choice at his young age. (Assuming there is no way possible for you to stay at home with him.) However, since I'm assuming this is not an option, you'll just have to wait for this phase to pass and hope he isn't the next instigator, LOL. :) Oh, and ignore any future advice from your neighbor. ;)

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