Outrage, petition over Missoula baby bitten at drop-off center

The Busy Hands Fun Center has shut down it’s Facebook page after the viral story of 7-month old Eliana Blinov is grabbing the attention of people within—and beyond—Missoula.

According to Eliana’s mother, Tracy Blinov, she and her husband received a call from Busy Hands on Friday night, reporting Eliana had been bitten by another child.

Once they arrived, according to Blinov, she said she and her husband were surprised to see 8 to 10 injuries on Eliana’s face.

“My initial reaction was very heartbroken, but I understand kids are sometimes kids,” Blinov said. “I had no idea the of the severity of it, initially. They made it sound like it was just one bite mark.”

Blinov said according to the surveillance—which she, her husband, and her father all watched together on Saturday—Eliana was attacked by 2-year-old child for one minute and 29 seconds before an attendant came over to check on the screaming baby.

Blinov said Eliana is now on antibiotics for her injuries, and said she has not decided whether or not she and her husband plan to press charges against Busy Hands.

Since then, a petition has surfaced online from Change.org, entitled “Shut down Busy Hands Drop In daycare so no more children will be hurt!”

Missoula Police confirms an initial report has been filed by the Blinov family, and that local detectives and child protective services are now involved; there is no official word on any reports filed by the Busy Hands Fun Center.

The Busy Hands Fun Center lists themselves as a "premium drop in hourly child care fun center", offering low prices and late hours for children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years to be dropped off with "no reservations needed."

One of the owners at Busy Hands Fun Center, who chose to keep her identity private, confirmed the timeline of the attack at about one minute and 29 seconds. However, she stated her employee separated the two immediately once she heard the screams.

The toddler doing the biting, the owner stated, was not a child they were familiar with in the past.

“This toddler that came in was a new customer and she neglected to tell us that the child was a biter and neglected to tell us that the week before she had been kicked out of Little Griz for biting a child,” said the owner. “If that would have been told to us, we could have said ‘No, we can’t take her.’ ”

As an unlicensed drop-off center, the owner said Busy Hands Fun Center is not held to the same standards as licensed childcare providers around Montana, but said that doesn’t stop them from trying to meet those same high standards themselves.

This incident, she said, has prompted them to change their standards, because their top priority is to keep children safe and allow them a place to have fun under their supervision.

To achieve that, she said, they will now aim for higher standards than even Montana law requires.

“The state only requires a four-to-one ratio for infants, but we’re going to change that in the future and we’re going to do two infants to one adult so we’ll have a higher staff ratio that way,” said the owner.

The owner stated she has not spoken to Missoula Police in any capacity.

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