Not every toddler bites, but biting is a common enough occurrence in children of that age that many parents are going to encounter it at some point or another, especially if your child is frequently in contact with a group of other toddlers, as they would be at a daycare. If your child is the biter, there are a number of strategies that you and your daycare provider can use to prevent them from biting and break the biting habit. But what if your child is the one who is being bitten? Take a look at what you need to know.
You want to protect your child, and the last thing you want is to think about them being hurt while they're out of your care. Your immediate reaction to a bite may be to worry about your child's well-being. Will there be a scar? Could your child get sick?
Luckily, most bites that occur in a daycare setting are not that serious. Many don't even break the skin, and even in the event that a bite is serious enough to break the skin, it's unlikely that the bite will become infected. Make sure that your child is up to date on their vaccines, particularly hepatitis B and tetanus. If your child is not up to date, they should see a doctor for a vaccine just in case. There are no reported cases of children transmitting hepatitis C or HIV through bites at a daycare, so you shouldn't get too caught up with worries about those illnesses. Most bites can be treated with basic first-aid methods.
What to Expect
Your daycare center should give you an incident report detailing the circumstances surrounding the bite and the first-aid methods used to treat it. You should not expect the daycare to disclose the name of the child who bit your child or the names of that child's parents. Remember that biting is common and normal in toddlers.
Your daycare provider probably can't prevent every instance of biting, no matter how hard they try. Toddlers can bite for many reasons, including anxiety or curiosity, and it's not always possible to predict when it will happen in time to stop it. However, it may make you feel better to discuss bite prevention strategies with your daycare provider.
Your daycare should have a supervision plan to help prevent biting, and if your child is a frequent target of one particular biter, there may be a way to keep the two separated. For example, either your child or the other child may be moved to a different class or group, or redirected to separate activities to reduce the risk of a bite occurring. Many daycares also have a policy about children who bite—if a child bites too often, they may be at risk of being disenrolled to protect the other children. Knowing what policies your daycare has in place can help reassure you that your child is safe in their care.
It's no fun for your child to be bitten, but it doesn't have to be a major ordeal either. Stay calm and remember that this is a normal part of development. Focus on comforting your child if they're upset by the bite and keep the lines of communication open with your daycare provider.
For more information about daycare and daycare policies, check out http://www.cottonwoodmontessorischools.com.