When a Montana mom received a phone call informing her that a toddler had bitten her infant daughter at day care, she chalked it up as a normal mishap.
But when the mom went to pick her child up and saw the girl's face was completely covered with bruises, she immediately called police and filed a report.
Now, Busy Hands Child Care Center in Missoula, Montana, is under police investigation after the March 31 incident, reports CNN.
"Maybe this isn't a big deal," Tracy Blinov told CNN of her first reaction to the bite. "The picture itself didn't really show the full extent of the bruising, because it hadn't surfaced yet, so it really did just look like a bite mark and maybe a scratch or two. It wasn't until later that it had become clear what had really happened."
The owner of Busy Hands said the worker might have been looking elsewhere when the incident started, but reacted as soon as 7-month-old Eliana started crying.
Security footage allegedly shows the employee place the 2-year-old in a playpen and the infant in a bouncer before stepping into the kitchen, when the toddler gets out and starts biting.
"I feel like she did her job," the owner said. "She didn't ignore the cries, she went right over so she did the best that she could."
But Blinov said on April 2 that she reviewed the security footage and believes "the staff member belligerently lied in her incident report," according to the mom's Facebook post.
A Change.org petition calling for the child care center to be shut down says the footage, which is not publicly available, shows that the toddler "appeared to have attacked Eliana biting her for about 1min 29sec before staff intervened," adding that no audio was recorded, "but you can see Eliana’s legs kicking and flailing in obvious distress."
The mom said she will have trouble trusting anyone to look after her daughter now, but that Eliana is "in much better spirits" and that the bruising and swelling is improving.
"It's amazing how resilient babies are," Blinov wrote later on Facebook on April 2. "So blown away by the support from everybody."
Montana does not regulate drop-in day cares. The Busy Hands owner stated that her facility still tries "to follow the daycare regulations" voluntarily and will improve their ratios of staff to children after the incident.
Blinov did not find that to be a satisfactory pledge, however.
"The State sets ratios for regular daycare facilities for a reason, so why are you not holding yourself to the same standards?" she asked. "Just because you don’t have to?"