Incidents and biting in child care

When you receive that first phone call from your childcare provider, you heart may skip a beat when they say ‘there has been an incident with your child’, and rightfully so! Thankfully I only received my first phone call the other day and my little one is three and a half. Usually there is no reason for alarm but the fact is that all child care providers MUST call you if you child has been hurt from the shoulders up, so the head area, even if it just a little bump. The staff do not mean to scare you but are simply following regulations. After receiving that phone call and signing the incident report, you are required to sign on pick up first instinct will most likely be to go and see if your child is ok. Usually, it’s not until you get home that you think up all these questions regarding what had happened.

How many report are too many?

You may feel that your child is getting way too many incident reports and also begin to question the childcare provider that takes care of your child. Again that is totally normal and you are within your rights to question it.  Something to consider though before you make that phone call or have a meeting with the staff is, does your child falls over easily at home? If so, it is probably no body’s fault and not worth making a fuss about. Anytime that your child does get hurt whether they have a scraped knee from falling down, a lump on the head from colliding with another child or even if they have been bitten by another child, the child care service has to fill out an incident report.

If you are really uncomfortable with the amount of incidents that are occurring definitely bring it up with the director as they may have issues with staffing or adequate supervision and we all just want our kids to be safe and happy!

Who was the other child?

Often parents will first ask who the other child is if the incident involved someone else. Legally, the child care provider cannot tell you the other child’s name because of confidentiality reasons. If your child can talk then I’m sure they will tell you anyway but you can’t really do anything with that information.


Biting occurs more often in children under two. Every centre will have policies and procedures regarding incidents and biting. A lot of centres will also have procedures in place for children who are biters and children that hurt others. They will normally allocate a staff member to closely monitor that child when playing to prevent incidents occurring.

Unfortunately biting is very common in toddlers as they don’t yet have the skills to communicate effectively. Childcare professionals will always communicate with the parents of the child who bites to work together for a solution. So even if your child has been bitten but you don’t know who has done it, the other parent will be made aware of what their child has done.

In my experience working in the field, parents have often said ‘if my child bites, bite them back’. That is not an effective solution and childcare professionals are in no way allowed to ever bite a child or put them at any risk of harm.

Your choice of provider

If you have chosen a high quality centre or child care provider incidents should be less frequent. This is why it is so important you take the time to research and plan long before you little one’s will be starting.  If your child does attend a centre where staff are more interested in chatting amongst themselves, more incidents will occur and you will need to say something.

If you are not happy with the answers given to you regarding an incident that has occurred all centres do have a complaints and grievance policy that they must legally follow. As a parent you can request to see any policy and procedures the service has in place and you can follow to steps in the procedure when you have a concern.  

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