Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Biting - Treatment Overview

In most cases, a doctor can help when your child has problems with biting others. Biting that injures someone or biting that continues after age 3 are signs that a child needs help controlling strong emotions. A doctor can assist parents and children with techniques that help a child express his or her feelings more appropriately. For example, your doctor can direct you to a class on parenting or on normal growth and development of children. These programs and other measures can help you understand why your child bites and how you can best respond.

Parents may need additional help if they are concerned about losing control over their actions when they are disciplining their child for biting. Anger management courses or counseling can help parents who feel overwhelmed in this way.

Recommended Related to Children

Marlo Thomas: Championing Kids' Care

This Thanksgiving has special meaning for Emmy Award-winning actor, producer, and author Marlo Thomas. It’s the 50th anniversary of her family’s fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, located in Memphis, Tenn. St. Jude began as the dream of Marlo’s father, the late, great funnyman Danny Thomas, in 1957 and has been going strong ever since. Since his death in 1991, Marlo, along with her sister, Terre, and brother, Tony, has been at the forefront of the center’s fundraising. Focusing...

Read the Marlo Thomas: Championing Kids' Care article > >

Not all incidents of biting can be prevented. But biting can be reduced by looking for things in your child's life that may lead to this behavior. Usually these relate to your child's age.

  • Give babies who may be teething soft toys or teething rings specifically designed to safely ease this discomfort. Biting or chewing on a clean, frozen washcloth can also help. For more information, see the topic Teething.
  • Tell children ages 8 to 14 months that biting hurts other people. Exaggerate the pain if your child bites you, and say, "No! We do not bite!" or something similar.
  • Help children ages 15 to 36 months use words to express their feelings. Also, learn to recognize the signs that your child is about to bite. You may be able to stop biting before it happens by distracting or redirecting your child. Don't try to reason with young children or have lengthy discussions about biting. Use simple and direct language.

When to call a doctor after a bite

Usually a bite from a child is not harmful, and medical care is not needed. Call your doctor if the bite has pierced (broken) your child's skin. The doctor will check your child's immunization status, ask questions about how and when the bite occurred, and decide if your child needs antibiotics to help prevent infection.

For more information about biting that causes injury, see the topic Animal and Human Bites.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 08, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

preschool age girl sitting at desk
Article
look at my hand
Slideshow
 
woman with cleaning products
Slideshow
young boy with fever
Article
 

worried kid
fitArticle
boy on father's shoulder
Article
 
Child with red rash on cheeks
Slideshow
girl thinking
Article
 

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Build a Fitter Family Challenge – Get your crew motivated to move.
Feed Your Family Better Challenge - Tips and tricks to healthy up your diet.
Sleep Better Challenge - Snooze clues for the whole family.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply

WebMD Special Sections