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Bite Mark on Boy’s Arm: Child Abuse—or Mimic?

Bite Mark on Boy’s Arm: Child Abuse—or Mimic?

child abuse

This 4-year-old boy returned home after a day at a small private daycare with a bite mark on his forearm. The mother stated that she had picked the child up after work and the two had eaten dinner together. Shortly after dinner she prepared a bath for him while she did something in the house. She reentered the bathroom to wash the child and found the bite mark. The mother asked the child about the source of the bite, but he did not give any answers.

The mother called the daycare owner for more information. The owner told the mother that she and 3 other preschoolers were at the daycare all day alone; it was unclear whether the owner had seen or known about the bite, but she had not reported it. The mother was angered by owner’s apparent lack of concern and sought a medical opinion and called the local police.

The investigating officer was concerned about the daycare because of previous complaints concerning “other injuries.” The child was examined by a physician at the officer’s request. The child made no disclosure to the officer or physician.

Physical examination revealed no other injuries.

Is this bite the mark of physical abuse—or is there another possible explanation?

Click here for answer and discussion.


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