MARICOPA, Ariz. (FOX 10) - A woman says her toddler was bitten multiple times by another child while at daycare. She says the teacher was changing another child's diaper when the incident happened.
The mother of that 15-month-old baby tells us it was her second day of daycare at Sunrise Preschools' Maricopa location when this incident happened. The parents of Mila are mortified that this even happened.
They say they were notified when they went to pick up their child at school. They were told it was just a couple of bites but when they looked for themselves, they counted about eight bite marks. According to the mother, she says school officials told her that there were three children in the room with one adult. The adult was changing a baby at a diaper table when it occurred.
"I don't know what to do," said Rylee Umsted, father of the 15-month-old involved in the incident. "It's another kid that bit him and they don't know what they're doing, but the staff member should've been on it."
The bite marks go all the way down Mila's back - red circles now turning into bruises. Rocio Enriquez, Mila's mother, requested the surveillance video but was told due to privacy issues, it could not be disclosed.
"How does this happen?" said Enriquez. "I immediately come home and inspected her and I definitely saw red marks and I'm like, what happened to my child? This is not just a biting incident, this was just her. They weren't able to control it. That's children that were in the classroom, so imagine if it was a full classroom what could've happened."
"How much agony was my child in?" Enriquez went on to say. "Apparently the whole thing took 30 seconds."
But to Mila's parents, 30 seconds was too long. Especially because after one bite, Mila would have been crying.
"She had to have screamed multiple times," Enriquez said. "Why is the child paying the consequences when it should be the teacher? And the teacher should get the consequences because a child doesn't know better, that's why the pay trained individuals to watch the kids."
Sunrise Preschools released the following statement:
"We are truly sorry for an incident that occurred at our new center in Maricopa.Sunrise Preschools considers safety of the children in our care job one. It is our first priority. It is why we have been privileged to provide child care for more than three decades. On Thursday April 25th a toddler was bitten multiple times by another toddler during a very short timeframe.This should not have happened. Only four children were under the supervision of the caregiver watching the children. That caregiver has been suspended without pay pending further investigation. This incident was heartbreaking and unacceptable and we are working diligently to ensure it does not happen again. We are reviewing all policies and procedures and will take whatever steps are needed to prevent this rare but serious matter from repeating itself. A video of the incident confirms the child was injured by another child very quickly and while the caregiver was changing a diaper. This is not meant to excuse the incident but to explain what happened. We can and will do better and this unfortunate matter has provided some hard learned lessons. After the child was injured first aid was administered, and the parents of the injured child were informed. The child who bit the classmate was expelled. While there is established protocol to address occasional biting behavior common to many toddlers, the severity of the incident demanded a more appropriate response. Sunrise is following internal policies and procedures as well as licensing regulations and employment law requirements throughout the investigative process.
But we are also determined to do more. We are reviewing our procedures. We are studying what happened. Additional steps are being evaluated to do everything possible to keep this from happening again. We apologize again and profusely when we fail because the trust you place in us is understood and appreciated which is why Sunrise has the outstanding reputation it has for decades in Arizona.
We are welcoming both questions and input from the community. If you have questions, concerns, or input please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our mission is to educate as well as care for children. In this instance Sunrise will use this unfortunate incident as a way to further educate ourselves with input from our parents and the community.