Biting

Biting other people is common in children ages 3 and younger. It becomes a problem if it happens frequently, occurs after age 3, injures others, or occurs with other aggressive behaviors.

A baby who is teething may bite in response to the sensation in the mouth or to relieve the pressure on the gums. Children may also bite as a way to cope with strong emotions—such as powerlessness, fear, or frustration—because they lack the social and language skills to express these feelings appropriately.

Usually, a firm "no" and stern expression will stop a child from biting. Children who bite frequently, especially if age 3 or older, should be evaluated by a doctor.

Last Updated: April 17, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics

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