MISSOULA, Mont. — The Missoula Police Department and Child & Family Services personnel are investigating Missoula’s Busy Hands Child Care Center after receiving reports that an infant was left alone long enough to be bitten in the face by a toddler.
Tracy and Pasha Blinov dropped their 7-month-old daughter off at the facility on March 31 and a short time later they received a phone call from the facility saying that a 2-year-old toddler had bit their daughter.
The Busy Hands Owner admitted her employee may have not been watching the children at the exact moment, but said her employee responded immediately after hearing the baby cry.
During an interview on Sunday, the infant’s mother says she understands that children sometimes bite; however she is concerned with the number of bites her daughter received before an employee noticed what happened.
On Sunday afternoon, the baby’s mother posted the following message on Facebook: “She’s in much better spirits today. I’m happy to say the bruising and swelling is coming down a little, it’s amazing how resilient babies are. So blown away by the support from everybody.”
The owner of Busy Hands says after watching surveillance footage, she saw an employee place the infant in a bouncer and the 2-year-old toddler in a playpen nearby. The employee left the room and went to the kitchen and that’s when video shows the toddler getting out.
“At that moment she wasn’t… her eyes weren’t on them. But she went right over when she heard the baby cry. I feel like she did her job. She didn’t ignore the cries, she went right over so she did the best that she could,” the owner said.
Blinov says she’s worried about the child-to-adult ratio standards at the facility. However, in the state of Montana, drop-in centers have limited requirements.
“The State doesn’t have any regulations for drop-ins, but we try to follow the daycare regulations. That’s totally voluntary on our part,” the Busy Hands owner said.
“The State sets ratios for regular daycare facilities for a reason, so why are you not holding yourself to the same standards? Just because you don’t have to?” Blinov said.
A Change.org petition has been created, calling for the daycare facility to be shut down.
The page states:
“We spoke with the owner of busy hands today as well as reviewed video footage of what happened and hear what staff wrote in their incident reports. The footage showed the 2 yr old toddler appeared to have attacked Eliana biting her for about 1min 29sec before staff intervened. There is no audio but you can see Eliana’s legs kicking and flailing in obvious distress.”
The owner of Busy Hands told MTN News that they will be changing their ratios after what happened and added hat she feels horrible about the incident and is working with her employees to make sure it never happens again.
The investigation by MPD and CFS is continuing.
We will update you when we get more information.
Click here for information about child care facility licensing, selection, and inspection at the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services website.
Here is a screenshot of a Facebook post by Busy Hands about the incident; their Facebook appears to have been deleted since it was posted.