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  5. Help my child is BEING bitten

Help my child is BEING bitten Lock Rss

Hello I am hoping other people can relate to this and offer some advice. My son has been bitten 4 times in the last 3 months at his day care centre. The first time I actually saw the girl do it and couldnt believe it. That same day when I went to pick him up she had just bitten another child and they called her mother to come pick her up. Then a few weeks later when I picked him up I noticed an obvious big bite on his arm and the day care centre staff didnt know anything about it. This mark stayed on his arm for a few days. We had to see the Dr for his injection and even he noticed it and commented on it being a nasty bite. Then about a month ago I picked my son up and there was an incident report for me as my son had been bitten again!! This time on the hand and it happened as he was asleep. Another child went over to him took his dummy and bit him. The final straw came on Tuesday night when I was undressing him for his bath and noticed another big dark bite on this back! Yet again the day care centre staff didnt know anything about it. I showed them the bite mark the next day which was just as dark as the night before. But the worse is still to come, as they said they do have a bitter who is currently in the nursery but is moving up this week into my sons room!! I told them that the child better get out of that habit real fast! I think they thought I was joking but I am not. They said he is the one getting bitten as he just loves the other children and wants to be near them and they want personal space. How do you teach an affectionate child who has only been shown affection to not go near the other children or they will bite him. As it is every time I see the children who have bitten him I cringe. I thought day care centres had policies regarding children who bite. It is hard enough for me to have to leave my child at day care let alone worrying about what is happening to him. I have to work for financial reasons so I dont have a choice. I am so sick of having to inspect my son when I pick him up just like I would do if I picked my car up from being repaired. I dont want to take him to another centre as he does seem to like his carers, but this is getting ridiculous. I dont take him to day care to be bitten and at this rate I would be no better off if I took him to the pound! The other problem is what if he learns to bite? What then..... I know biting is a stage some children go through and all the books I read give advice for parents of the child biting, but what about advice for the parents of the poor innocent child being bitten?
Hi Janeen,

I am so sorry your little boy is being bitten. Biting should not be taken lightly, as your son may get sick from a child that bites him. Don't feel responsible - it is the day cares responsibility to ensure this does not happen not yours. They owe you a duty of care that your son is safe whilst in their care. Ask for an appointment to speak to the manager of the centre and discuss you concerns with him/her.

My oldest daughter was in day care and she was bitten, the parents of the other child were called in and spoken to - have they done this in your case?

When my second was born i was advised to get the hep B immunisation just in case she was ever bitten by another child - have you raised this type of risk with them as well?

I don't want to scare you but I feel very strongly about the safety of our children - especially when they are in day care and it seems to me that they have not taken this issue very seriously as it keeps happening over and over. This type of incident should have been promptly dealt with by the centre to ensure that it does not happen again.
Good Luck

Vic, 2 girls - 9 yo & 17mth old

Hi jacmad, Thank for your reply and concern. You are not going to believe this but my son has been bitten again. I picked him up on Friday in a hurry. When we got home my husband noticed teeth marks in his hand. I was very angry to say the least. Then when I went to bath him he had 2 other bites. 1 on his lower back the other in his shoulder. This morning the 2 on his back have actually left a bruise. Now I am VERY angry. Both my husband and myself are going to the centre on Monday and having it out with them. There is a new centre which is just about built just around the corner from them. I will give the number and call and make some enquires. We have 2 other centres very close by so I will ring them as well. I am also going to ring the Child Care Access Hotline (1800670305) on Monday and enq about correct procedure for this sort of thing.

You are right I get the distinct feeling they are not taking this matter seriously at all. I know it is going to be hard finding another centre at this time of the year but I will at least try which will hopefully make me feel like I have some control of this.

I have only known of one case where the child parent where called, but that was only because she bit my child in the morning and then another child in the afternoon. They rang the mother after the second child was bitten.

I am sorry they are not opened today as I now have to stew on this all weekend. Then I have to start my Monday morning defending my son to people who are being paid VERY good money to take care of him. I wish I could just take him straight out of the centre but I have no one else to watch him while I work. My husband is a 24hr shift worker, my mother is not well enough to look after herself, my husbands family all live a long way away and I dont have a sister or even a friend who would be able to help me. I want him to interact with other children and to have friends but at what price?

Did I mention this is my sons second day care centre as the first one was leaving him unfed (his food was still in his bag), in dirty nappies (poo), dirty runny nose(running into his mouth) and leaving him alone in the nursery screaming while the other children where outside playing. I came to pick him up and heard him screaming from outside. I was in the nursery for at least 5 mins trying to settle him and no one came near me. On his last day I found a bruise on his arm in the shape of adult fingers. He never returned and I lodged a formal complaint. But I wasnt working them................ His current centre have been very good up until now so I am really at a loss.

I'll let you know how I go and thanks again for your advice.
Hi Janeen,
how did you go speaking to management? it's a shame you have had such bad experiences with childcare. Now that i have another baby, i am not going down that path again. i have a part time night job and when maternity leave finishes (end April) I will be working at night (7pm - midnight)when hubby is at home. i too don't have any support to help with babysitting so i know how hard it is for you - probably twice as hard as your hubby is a shift worker.

Stand your ground with Daycare - don't let them fob you off with this biting thing and find out it there is an authority you can report these people to if you don't get any satisfaction.

Vic, 2 girls - 9 yo & 17mth old

Hello jacmad, I was lucky as on the Monday my husband finished work at 7.00am so both of us went down to have it out. Then it turned out the Big Boss of the whole company was there so we let them have it. You could still see Calebs bruises and the sore from the bites on his back so that was good. Yet again they said they didnt know he had been bitten!!!! Not the point we said which they agreed. They were very apologetic and seem embarrassed about it all. The big problem is they are not sure which child is the biter. They said they have never had such a problem before, the odd bite but they were always on top of it. I told them even my parents were angry about it and how bad the day care looked as it reflects on there name. We were told the usual we are so sorry we will flag Caleb today and watch who he is playing with. We made it very clear how close we were of taking Caleb out of the centre which they understood. The director even gave us her home phone number so if we ever pick him up again and find a bite she wanted us to phone her ASAP. So I thought that might be the end of it all. NO.........I received a phone call on Tuesday at my work from day care and my immediate response was what the hell has happened!! You guessed it Caleb was bitten again on the back. The only good thing was they saw it this time and it was the child they suspected. Finally this feral child was punished and the day care rang his mother to come and pick him up for the day. So if you take all 4 bites he got on Friday as 1 bite this now means Caleb has been bitten at day care 6 times in just over 3 months. If you take all the bites in total and its now 9 bites. Not a good average is it. Yet again we got all the apologises and we feel terrible about this blah blah blah. So now they are going to look at moving this biter to a different room however that only means other children will be bitten. I for one dont want another child to go through what Caleb has gone through. Also the room they are wanting to put him in is the next room up which means any where from the next 4 - 6 months he and Caleb will be in the same room again as Caleb will go up when he is old enough. Of course the centre has to protect the biter so they are not allowed to tell us who it is but it wont be hard to figure out when one child goes missing from the room. My husband picked Caleb up on Tuesday and let them have it. He told them they are lucky we are not in America as we would be suing the parents and the centre for this sort of thing. The other point is what if Caleb was to start bitting, then they will have 2 biters on the hands. He told them they are on there last chance and this is not good enough for our child saying we are trusting our CHILD to them, the person who means more to us than anything. They said they understood what he was saying and why he is so angry.
So for now it seems they may be able to fix this problem as they know who is doing the biting, that is better than we had before. On the up side Caleb is still happy to be there and actually runs to the door to get in when we arrive. Thats the main thing for now.
I did contact the Child Care Access Line who adviced I really need to make an formal complaint with the centre first (which we did on Monday) and if the matter is not fixed then we can contact them again and they will also look into this. They agreed bitting was a very serious matter and said if the child continued then the centre would have to look at asking the child to not attend until they could be sure the child was not going to bite again. My mother reminded me of a matter years ago when a little girl named Eve who had been diagnosed with AIDS, I dont think she actually had AIDS but the anti bodies. I think she got this from a blood transfusion at birth. Anyway this is years ago when we didnt know a lot about it. But she was bitting children at her day care and she was asked to leave. Apparently no day care centre was prepared to take her because of the bitting and having the AIDS virus. In the end her mother moved back to New Zealand. I am not saying this was right or wrong but it was very sad for everyone involved.
Thank you for your help and support. I was starting to wonder if I was just being a neurotic mother!! You know the ones. I know no child is perfect and we all have our faults but some behaviour is not acceptable.
I hope it all works out for you with the afternoon work. I would love to be able to do something like that. Thanks again. Janeen
Hi Janeen,

My little boy has been bitten three times in as many month, the last one on his face. It is such a hurtful thing to see your child with a bruise caused by somebody else's ill mannered child. In the last few days our boy has been trying to smack us on the face. I am wondering if he is also getting smacked at daycare. We really like our carers at daycare - the problem is the other kids. I am glad you have taken the problem into your own hands as we have also done. Our son went through the biting stage with us and we used to bite him back harder and that soon stopped him doing it. They learn very quickly when something hurts them back.

I hope things get better for you or that you find another daycare centre but remember - there may be more biters at the new centre!


Biting is fairly common amongst young children and it is one of the things that worries adults most. Biting is often very painful and frightening for the child who is bitten. It can also be frightening for the child who bites, because it upsets the other child and makes adults very angry. Biting can make the child who bites feel very powerful because of the strong reaction that it brings. This feeling of power can also be frightening for children because they need to feel secure that their feelings can be controlled.
What causes biting

There are four different kinds of biting.

1. Experimental biting

Biting is the way that infants explore the world. They put everything into their mouths. At some stage many infants will try biting the breast when they are feeding or biting a parent or carer. Sometimes it almost seems like a game to the child.

What you can do for experimental biting

Don't let children see that you think it is funny or a game. Say firmly: "No! Biting hurts." Remove them quickly from the breast or arm or whatever they are biting. Infants and toddlers will usually soon learn not to bite in this situation. When children are teething they need lots of things to bite on because often their gums feel sore. Give them things that they can safely bite on eg teething rings.

2. Biting from frustration

Frustration happens when children get into situations that they can't handle. Children under three or so are not usually ready to play in a cooperative way with other children in groups. If they are in a group and another child takes their toy they may respond by hitting or biting. They have not yet learned other ways to cope. If biting gets a strong response, which is likely, they will see that it is successful and may try it again. Sometimes, too, the youngest children bite when they are playing with others who are bigger and stronger than they are.

What you can do about biting from frustration

If you can, get in first and cut down the situations that the child cannot cope with. Try to keep group play to short periods and small groups. Watch for situations where two children might want the same toy and step in first to distract them.
Children in this situation need close adult supervision, especially if they are known to bite. However even the best supervision, unless it is one-to-one, will not prevent some children from getting in a quick bite.
If your child does bite, say firmly "We don't bite, biting hurts" and remove him immediately from the situation. Keep him with an adult for a while. The child needs you to understand his feelings and start teaching him to manage them differently. This takes a long time to learn. Feelings are very hard for young children to control. You might say something like "You were very cross when Peter took your truck" or "You wanted to play with the truck. If you feel cross tell me and I will help you".
3. Biting because of feeling powerless

Often it is the youngest child in the family who bites. The older children seem stronger and more able to get what they want and the youngest feels small and powerless. The same can happen in groups. The child can then discover that biting is a way of getting some power in the situation.

What you can do about biting because of feeling powerless

The first step is to try to make sure that the child's needs are protected so she doesn't need to bite. Make sure that she is not getting the worst of the deal.
If she is playing with older children explain to them how the younger one might be feeling. Get their help to make things more equal.
If biting happens between very youngchildren more adult help is needed. Try to get in first and make sure that the needs of the less powerful child are taken care of.
Make separate play places for older and younger children if necessary.
If the child has already bitten, quickly tell her that she is not to bite and remove her from the situation. Keep her with you for a while before letting her return.
Biting under stress

Biting often occurs when a child is under emotional stress that she cannot handle. This biting is an expression of distress and pain and the child may seem very upset or angry. Young children are not easily able to know what they are feeling. They just act!

What you can do about biting under stress

Try to find out what is causing the stress if you can. Keep a watch on when the biting happens and what is happening just before. For example one child always bit someone when a new child arrived at the playgroup and took the leader's attention. Another child started biting soon after his much loved grandfather had died.
It isn't always possible to remove the cause of the stress, but sometimes if you can work out what is triggering the biting, you can get in first.
The child will need help to find other ways to express his feelings through play and stories.
When the child bites, remove him from the situation promptly and respond as above. Sometimes it helps to offer something else to bite on. Offer as much comfort as you can at other times.
Hi Janeen. I haven't as yet heard of my daughter being bitten or biting other children as yet. But I can certainly imagine how it must have made you feel. You expressed a concern of "what if he learns to bite". This may sound wrong, but if he bites the child back, perhaps it'll be the only way the other child learns not to bite. I know that there are people out there who will disagree with me, but there's only so much your son will take and one day he'll bite back. If it was my daughter biting a child who was continuously biting her I would not make too much of a fuss or punish her.

Angela, NSW

Hi cookyboy12, Caleb did bite someone the other!! I had just picked him up from day care and putting him in his car seat when he just latched onto my thumb. He was smiling after which made me think he was playing. I really screamed loud as it not only hurt me but shocked me. You could still see the teeth marks when I got home. I let him know it was really naughty and he started to cry which usually means he knows he did something wrong. He hasnt bitten me or anyone else since. The other child that was bitting did go up to the other room so they only see each other in the mornings or afternoon when they have joint play time. Thankfully this has seemed to work.
It was just a painful time as everything I read was about your child biting but nothing was about your child being bitten. I would hate to think of another child going through the same thing. Thanks for your reply!
Hi Janeen, just wondering if you had tried family daycare? I am lucky that my mum looks after my son but three of my friends use family daycare and they love it. It is smaller (I think they can only have 5 or 6 kids) and I think it is actually a little cheaper.

My friend used to work in child care and at her centre biters were expelled. My nephew bites when he gets over excited but with plenty of firm 'No!s' he is getting out of it. Luckily he bites us and not other kids as there is nothing worse than seeing your little one injured in any way.

Good luck - I hope things are working out for you.
man calebsmum
i cant beleive that they let it go on for so long
if that was my child i would be going off my head and demandin answers (as it sounds you have) just reading that makes me mad it is not right
but what your husband said made me laugh how true is it about americans
thinkin of u and ur boy


DD may 03, DS oct 06

Hi Calabs mum, coming from the other end of the stick- my son is a biter. I find he does it out of frustration. I find that he only does it at creche or when we have alot of kids around and I havent had my eye on him. To tell you the truth these child care wokers are not doing there job properly because if they acted when they see the kids getting frusterated they should give each a toy.Or keep them happy.This does happen very quickly and I know how it happens so you have to watch out. These child care workers know there is a problem so they should be ready for it. I would change to a different centre. We all want whats best for our little ones.

michelle, mum of jackson 13-02-03

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