Child Bit in Daycare on Three Separate Occasions

Updated on June 13, 2011
M.S. asks from Palo Alto, CA
24 answers

I'm sure this is an age old issue. Today I was given an accident report when picking up my 2 year old. She got bit AGAIN. 3rd time in about 3 months. The first bite didn't break the skin. The second bit was a pretty nasty one that broke the skin through her shirt. The third one was much like the first. All three bruise and leave a mark. I ask if it's the same child and they won't give me that information. They seem concerned but act as if their hands are tied and the Director mostly says "it's the age range". The second bite I asked if she could get moved to the 3 year old room. They said there is no room. They said they talk with parents when children bite. But honestly what can you do? You can't reason with them. It's hit or miss. By that I mean when my oldest was in that same room at that age there were no biters.

I pay 182.00 a week for my two year old and during the summer I pay 154.50 a week for my 6 year old in the school age room. The ratio is 2 care givers for 12 children in my two year old's room. Is that normal? I don't want to take her out and have the same problem some place else. I am contemplating just quitting my job and staying home. I make 34,000 a year. I am not the main income but we need my job . We'd save 1,346 a month during the summer and 962.00 during the school year (after school care for my oldest). Sorry just brainstorming.

Today after I was given the accident report I called the Director while driving home because she was on the phone and my kids were restless. I asked if the same child keeps biting her and she said no. But I don't know if they just say that to protect the biter. My husband and I are going to sit down and talk with her face to face next week.

How would you all handle this? It's just hard seeing her come home with bruising and being told it's normal. On one had I understand this is normal on other hand it's makes me want to cry that she's hurt at the place I drop her off at everyday : (

If I were to take her out I wouldn't put her back someplace until she's past the "biter world" phase.

Edit: Someone mentioned that she can't be put in the 3 year old room because of her age. At this daycare they have a mix of older two year olds and three year olds. So it is an option.

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answers from Dallas on

When my DD was almost 2, I was also babysitting 2 kids the same age. My DD kept biting this one girl over and over. It happened SO fast! She got so bad that I just had to stop watching kids for a while. Best thing I ever did! She's 3 1/2 and I'm watching kids again, bite-free, lol!
It really is just the age and it happens so fast that it can't always be prevented.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Green Bay on

34,000 a year. 1/2 goes to child care. 1/4 goes to taxes. Is it really worth it to work full-time for $8500 a year?

I'd look into staying home. Look for a home business that could bring in the $8500 a year.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

The biting issue came up only a couple of times for my kids. It was just 4 kids (2 years old) and one teacher, but a couple of kids started biting the other 2. The director thought the kids needed to be watched and stopped when they attempted to bite. She watched herself and soon the problem was resolved. Another time my child did bite another child, and it was related to teething. It never happened again.

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answers from Phoenix on

3 bites in 3 months? That's not really that bad, honestly. I hate to say it, but I think you're overreacting.

You can talk to the director all you want, but she won't be able to do anything. Biting is a well known phase with kids that age. You can switch day cares, but it most likely will still happen as long as your child is in that age range, no matter where you go. It's not always something that can be controlled, as 2 year olds are still very impulsive. Some 2 year olds don't yet have the ability to communicate effectively, therefore they bite. It's a hard situation. The caregivers can be right there & the bite will still happen.

Think of how the biter's parents feel - they probably feel awful. Just be thankful you're not in their shoes.

I feel your pain, as my DD experienced the same thing in daycare. There were a rough couple months & then the biting stopped once the kids matured. It's a phase, it's not intentional, and your DD hasn't been permanently affected. It's not worth moving her & it's not worth quitting your job over.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Sorry, but it's normal. And it only takes a second for a child to bite so even if there were a teacher for every 2 children it could still happen. They outgrow it. It is usual that the staff will not give you the name of the child that bit yours. If you switch centers, there is no guarantee they won't get a biter. And 'biters' grow up to be perfectly normal children and adults - not a stigma they carry for life. I would not give up my job over this issue.

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answers from Wichita on

I think you have great advice...just wanted to add that by law, you are absolutely not allowed to tell a parent any information about another child. Most daycares do have a policy in place if it is a chronic biter, but is what a lot of kids do at this age. My daughter has been bit a few times, and I've been called once on her being the biter. It could be a mixture of both....I know that the morning (main) teacher at my daughters daycare (which is actually a private school with daycare attached) is more attentive than the afternoon girls (who are usually high school or college aged girls). may not being watched as closely as they should. another poster said, kids bite. It doesn't matter where you are; they will bite, hit, kick, etc. You can't stop it all the time. If it was 3 in a week, I'd be worried. Actually, if it was 3 a week every week, then I would be worried. Kids feed off of each other and copy what they see.
Also...the ratio for that age range is 1 teacher to 6 toddlers so they are following regulations. (Or at least that's what the regulations are here)
Good luck! I know it's awful to see your kiddo like that, but if she's anything like doesn't really bother her after it's happened :) Mine bruises VERY easily just like mama so it always looks worse than it is.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Youngstown on

I worked in a daycare for 5 years and unfortunately kids that age bite. I don't think there is much more you or the director can do. I know it is not fun knowing your child has been bitten while she is there but know that the daycare does what it can to prevent this from happening. 12 children for 2 adults is what it was when I was working in daycare. Good luck.

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answers from New York on

Breaking through the skin and clothing sounds especially vicious and could be medically hazardous (and if it gets infected and you are stuck with medical bills, the day care can be held liable). You are right to be concerned and suspicious about what is going on when you are not there.

I recall the day when I got TWO accident reports in one day for my son, who was bit on one thumb by one kid and then on the other thumb by another! I was so upset...

One bite can be expected. More than one signals a lack of appropriate supervision and/or discipline methods to address the issue. I am concerned that this day care is not doing enough to curb the biting.

I believe that a 6 to 1 ratio of children to teacher is OK after 18 months of age but I would confirm this online through your state's website on child care regulations.

Also, it is a legal violation of personal privacy to reveal the name of the biter. The concern is that some crazy parent might try to confront the biter's parent in some way that may be violent, and the day care does not want to be held responsible. However, the day care does reserve the right to kick out any child who is a repeat biter -- so, when they talk to the parents of the biter, they should be discussing this with them.

I would keep your appointment talk to your director in person about what is going on, and avoid the phone. In person always carries more weight than a phone call. I would also specifically plan on asking EXACTLY what was done to handle your daughter's biting situation -- and listen carefully: a good director, if she examined the situations over and over with a fine-toothed comb, should be able to explain the situations easily and vividly. If the director struggles to remember, then that means that she was not really on top of the matter as she claims she is being.

Other questions you may want to ask are:
-Which teachers were present those times that your kid was bit? Did the director talk to the teachers and what did she say to them? What did they say to her? If it was the same teachers, is that of concern to the director (in other words, could it be that 1-2 teachers in particular are not as watchful as they could be)?
-What was said to the biter by the teacher? What was done (ie methods of discipline)?
-Is there a plan on how the biter's parents will address the issue of biting (the day care is obliged to suggest to the parents how to address the issue at home to avoid it happening again)? Is there a threshold on how many "bites" or similar behavior it would take prior to expelling a child from day care (and I would hope that the director has a very specific answer for this)?
-Overall, how has situations like this been handled in the past?
-Is there lots of biting at the day care in general (the answer should be no)?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

First of all a 2 year old cannot be moved to a room that is not her age. If she moves up that room becomes a 2 year old room and they have to change out the toys to under 3 year old toys, they have completely different toys due to being 3 and choke hazard regulations. Plus the teacher child ratio will change and they would have to make 2-4 children drop out. A 2 year old class in Oklahoma has a teacher/child ratio of 8 to 1. A 3 year old class has a ratio of 12 to 1. So, if they moved your child up the class size would change from 12 kids to only 8. That's not fair to the kids actually 3 or the business owners who lower the charges for a 3 year old. They still have the same bills and teacher to pay a salary with reduced children paying the fees.

Second, kids do bite at this age. If they continue to have issues you might do some research on what to do with a child that bites and take some information to the teacher and pass it on to the Director too. A child that bites may be teething or have a cavity, the pressure of biting makes the pain stop for a few minutes. They may also need to chew more. They may need some extra chewing activities like chewing a particular food at meals and snacks, like apples bits in 1/4" pieces, you can find specific foods for this for 2 year olds when you research the topic.

Third, of course you are upset. I would be too. You feel like the teacher is not paying your child enough attention and allowing her to be hurt. The teacher is most likely doing everything she can to protect all the children in her class. She may have 10 biters in the same class. It happens a lot more at that age than you can imagine. And you can't really kick the kid out due to it being all of them at one time or another. If you have addressed this with the teacher and the Director then you have the choice of moving your child to another facility. If you do though they may have the 10 biters in her class and it may be tons worse.

Fourth, do you really want the teacher to be paying ALL her attention to a biter to protect your daughter and basically ignoring the rest of the class? Of course not, a biter may take advantage when the teacher is being asked for a hug from a child or when someone falls down and needs a bit of first aid. They are just having an urge that is out of their control. It is not something a 2 year old can think out and decide to not do. They don't have the impulse control or the cognitive ability to do that.

Just be patient and talk to her about staying out of reach of the biter and help her to feel better about it, poor baby, I know it hurts like heck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It's not fun to deal with but it is normal and developmentally appropriate (even though it is not behaviorally appropriate). Some kids have not yet learned the proper way to verbally express their feelings or anger and resort to biting because it does garner a reaction. 3 times in 3 months honestly isn't all that frequent. My first son got bit quite a few times and I can tell you that all the hawks in the world can be watching the children but all it takes is one second to tie another kid's shoe or wipe another kid's nose and BAM! a bite happens. I wouldn't necessarily call that negligent behavior on the part of the caregivers; I'd call it two year olds being two year olds. You may or may not have the same problem in another center plus you'd be taking your children out of an environment that they've become accustomed to.

Talk to the director but be open-minded. And be thankful - it could be your kid that is a chronic biter and I can only imagine that would be worse than having your kid bit.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My son was bitten many times, once he was held down by a bigger kid and bitten on both temples.

My son was also a biter and a hitter and would randomly shove kids. The daycare had us in for many meetings to try to get our help to figure out what to do. Finally I pulled him out of daycare (age 23 months) and stayed home with him. Best move I ever made. Turns out he had Sensory Processing Disorder and being in a noisy, busy group environment for 7 hours a day was making his little nervous system go into overload. Attacking other kids was his only way to try to get some space. Being home with him, I was able to provide a healthier environment for him. A group daycare was not equipped to deal with this issue.

I do not think you will regret staying home with her for a year or two. Best of luck with your decision.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Eau Claire on

MamaMay - if I am remembering right, it would take 2 gallons of saliva to even have a chance of getting HIV. (I just looked it up, and yep... The mouth is an unfriendly environment for HIV.)

M. - Unfortunately, kids get bit. I would ask the daycare to separate her from the biters and keep a very close eye on her at all times. If they can't or aren't able to do that, I would honestly find a new daycare.

My son's class had a biter who targeted 1-2 children. They ended up splitting the kids into 2 groups and making sure that the biter and targets weren't in the same group.

They will eventually grow out of the stage. It sucks, but there isn't too much that can be done.

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answers from Hartford on

You have a right to know if it's the same child biting your daughter in each instance. You also have a right to know if the child is also biting other children. I would really pressure them about it, and if it turns out that it's the same child AND he's biting other children I would ask to see their policy on how many offenses a biter has before s/he's expelled.

If it's different children biting, then there's not much that can be done. Biting at this age is entirely impulsive and spontaneous. It can happen with the daycare person being right there and as attentive as you yourself would be. What would concern me about the daycare people and their attentiveness is if it's a repeat biter who isn't being watched carefully and redirected before there are issues.

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answers from Boston on

my daughter had a similar problem in her daycare except she was about 18 months....we got 7 accident reports in 2 weeks 4 of them were for bites. one day her school called me to give me heads up so i had my husband go get her he brought his mother also....once they got to her school they called me and raised holy hell in the center because 1/2 of her face was bruised with teeth marks....
needless to say i went in the next week and made a scene with the director and owner of the center....we never got an accident report again but it wasnt much after that when i took her out of the center because i felt that i shouldnt have to go to that extreme to make sure my daughter was being payed attention to also.
once is an accident...4 times is unexcusable

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sheboygan on

didn't read your responses yet, but I've been the parents on both ends of the "stick" My oldest was the biter. NEVER bit at home (okay twice, several months apart and ALWAYS when "provoked" by another child taking something from her). My youngest has been bit several times. It sucks, but it's the age. Some children are just biters. As the parent of a former biter, I must request that you be patient. One child got bit twice in the same day (once by mine, and the other by another child). Unfortunately, that "victim" had been bit previously by my child and the parents apparently threatened legal action. COME ON...they are 2 years old! The center then threatened to kick MY child out. I told them that this honestly is not an issue (except on a rare occasion) at home and they better figure out another plan or I would be the one threatening legal action. Closer supervision, separate the most-likely-to-conflict children, etc. Well, they separated the 2 children as much as possible, which resulted in my child being force to eat with the "babies" (which was really a shame because she was actually advanced for her age at the time and she would tell me, "I don't want to eat with the babies, I'm a big girl"). Anyway, oh, this issue is 5 years old and it still burns me. PLEASE, be's not the biter's fault! ALL of the child development research I read said it's normal and needs to be addressed and redirected, which is a shared responsibility of parents AND teachers. Okay, sorry for the rambling. Just, "been there, done that" on both ends.

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answers from St. Louis on

She's two have you asked her who is doing the biteing. Most 2 yr olds should be able to tell you who hurt them. I would let the Director know that if it happens again your leaving. I care for children when the (Very) occasional bite happens. I tell the parents of the biter as well. Most children bite out of frustration, my question would be to the teachers "JUst what were the children doing at the time of the accident" and what were the teachers doing as well. If it's not the same child doing this then it sounds like there is a problem with the staff, and children not being watched properly. If it was the same child all the time, that would be alittle more understandable I would then say and NO time should my child be left alone to play or sit next to this child.

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answers from Tampa on

I would talk to the Director also. State you wish to talk to the parents of the child that bit her. Ask your child the name of the classmates who have bitten her... I'm surprised you hadn't done that already. At 2, almost 3, they should be able to tell you names of who hurt them.

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answers from Washington DC on

The center director has the authority to remove the child who is biting.

No, they cannot give you the name of the child. If your child was biting another - would you want it broadcasted? No, I don't think so.

At the age of 18 months to 3 - children bite because they are frustrated and cannot express their thoughts into words - does it make it right? NO. But they need to be taught biting is wrong and to use their words? Is it easy? NO.

but the teachers in the classroom need to be more attentive...does it mean they may have to add another teacher? Yes. Will it hurt their payroll? Heck yeah. but if it continues - they are going to end up with a lawsuit especially if the child is a habitual biter and bites more than one time - the child isn't going to be so lucky.

Talk to the center director again. FORCE HER HAND. You can make her move your child out or suspend the other child should he/she bite again.

Good luck

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answers from Lincoln on

as a Toddler teacher for 20 years - 3 times in 3 months isn't necessarily a lot depending on the dynamics in the room. I've had kids lean over & bite when they are sitting on my lap! In my daughter's infant room prior to moving to toddler's there was one girl who tended to get bit by 3 different kids - because she liked to pull hair, take toys, crawl & lay on them, put her fingers in their mouth. My daughter was one of the biters so I was glad she moved up. Only now there's another girl who likes to put her fingers in her mouth so naturally my daughter bites her! The other girl had been gone for a week, came back on Friday, and her teacher tells me not even 10 minutes after she got there she was right up in her face & fingers in her mouth. Her teacher asked her if she wanted to get bit and she said yes!

When I have chronic biters - typically, after sitting them away from others while caring for bitten child depending on age - 1. biting "bling" - simply a teething ring on a shoestring. Eventually they learn to just pick it up and bite until they get the words to express themselves and some after it gets moved to counter as they seemed to quit biting will ask for it! 2. (older 2's) biting book - we work on finding magazine pictures to make a book of what we can use teeth for (this was a biter parent idea) 3. always a discussion about using words, teeth are for food and words 4. always read Teeth are Not for Biting during grouptime when there is an issue going on My daughter has a tube of oragel that stays there to be applied (her biting is worse when she's teething and I'll give her ibuprofen if they've really been bothering). Sometimes we do have to trade out kids for a day or even a few days to get our point across. I've had to keep behavior logs on some of the biters to see if there is a pattern (switch off days with parents, certain times of day, certain kids...)

The ratio here is 1 adult to 6 toddlers (18 months-3 years & at 3 years it goes up to 10 kids per adult). Where I work we have our own group of 6 in our own rooms (one room "shares" but the room is divided so only 6 together). However I have worked with 2 adults & 12 kids and also 4 adults and 24 kids. My experience has been typically there is less biting with the fewer kids in a room. It's more controlled & easier to monitor. When I was at the center with the 24 - one of the teacher's liked to chat on the phone and wander and there wasn't a variety or enough toys for that many (IMO) and the biting was much worse.

...when i started to post about the ratios here I went back to see where you were at, saw Lincoln & immediately thought "I hope it's not my kid biting your kid!" ...but it's not! Her "victim" is an only child!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Some of the responses amaze me. It is normal. My son bit several times and got bit several times. It's the age. Kids get frustrated and are learning how to express themselves. For some kids the first instinct when they get angry is to bite. It may be hard to prevent without 1 on 1 constant supervision but the best way is to distract the child or teach them how to redirect their anger. It will pass. My day care never shared the name of the children with the parents. I don't think they can but I think it is for good reason...You would be looking down on that child or those parents when the parents probably feel horrible that theirs is doing the biting. Based on your response, it almost sounds like you don't trust your daycare provider much which isn't good. You should feel confident with where you have your child. You might just be using the biting as an excuse. Just a thought.

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answers from Tampa on

Sorry, I do realize that biting does happen at that age. My children have been on both sides of this issue. However, if your child is being hurt repeatedly, then you have to make a change. I would personally raise holy hell with the director. While I do understand that they won't tell you the name of the child that bit yours, you absolutely have a right to inisist that they tell you how they are going to insure that it does not happen again. You are paying a buttload of money to them to keep your children safe...if they are unable to do so for whatever reason, then you can and should take your buttload of money elesewhere.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Ok, so here is my biting in day care knowledge. Most places have policies ... 3 bites and you are out. So, if the biter bites 3 times PERIOD they are asked to leave. The teachers are supposed to watch the KNOWN biters and help stop it before it gets there. Well, I have been a frustrated mommy of a victim of classroom biters myself with no real solution. My son came home with TWO bites in one day that went UNDOCUMENTED!!!! I found them when I picked my son up and washed his hands before leaving. One was on his arm and I found it when I rolled up his sleeves (in the crook of his elbow) and the other I found (on his low back almost his butt) when I picked him up to reach the sink (I am 6'2 not using the low sinks!) ... they said he did not fuss/get upset so they had no idea, nor do the know who it was. My son has sensory processing disorder and the bites actually felt GOOD to him so he did not mind, he was 2.5 ish at the time coupled with a sleep delay so his communication was not good either. Later that SAME week during bath time I found ANOTHER on his mid back (in the bath). They offered no help other than they will monitor his time with known biters to help avoid the issue, they can not do anything if he does not talk to them and if he does not react. A few weeks later they kicked MY son out of the day care because THEY could not handle his needs. Basically, they were tired of doing the "extra" things ECI asked them to do with him to make everyone's life easier. Btw they urged me to contact ECI. So, in short day cares do not do much about biters in general other than possibly kick them out after three bites, unless the first or second was really nasty.

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answers from Honolulu on

I would get tested for HIV... that has been known to pass through open wounds and saliva... And they don't have to disclose that sort of medical information to a child care ever, in fact it was illegal to ask when I worked child care 10 years ago.

It is the reason you have to treat every cut like it is HIV infected in child cares and schools now. I assume that the laws haven't changed.



answers from Minneapolis on

Have you talked with other parents? That might help you ferret out if there is some kind of issue the other child is having with your child, or if the biter is biting all the kids at random. If your daughter is being singled out for some random toddler brain reason, I would use that as an argument to propel her to the next classroom. I have been told by my day care that they do try to pay attention to strong and problematic relationships and keep kids in different rooms if there are issues.

My child was the biter in her one-year old room and grew out of it fairly quickly (and let me tell you-it is mortifying to be told your child is the biter!!). She became the bitee in the next room, by which time she had stopped biting. Now she is in a preschool room and no one bites. This experience, as well as my day care teachers, tells me there is a normalcy to this behavior.

I have at times thought of withdrawing my child for various reasons. But I realize that she is going to have to face situations she faces in preschool throughout her life and my job is to help her learn to stand up for herself.

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