A 21-year-old man is facing felony charges in Des Moines County District Court for head-butting his 2-year-old son as a form of discipline.

Zachary Lee Fritsch of Washington appeared Tuesday before Des Moines County District Associate Judge Emily Dean on charges of child endangerment, a class D felony, and serious assault causing bodily injury, a serious misdemeanor.

He remains in the Des Moines County jail in lieu of a $6,000 cash-only bond. Fritsch faces up to six years in prison if convicted of both charges.

The toddler was treated for an injury to his forehead at Great River Medical Center in West Burlington and released to his mother.

The incident occurred in the late evening hours of Jan. 1 in West Burlington.

According to a complaint unsealed Tuesday in Des Moines County District Court, Fritsch, his son and the toddler's mother were visiting a residence in West Burlington when the incident occurred.

West Burlington police officers first became aware of the alleged assault when medical center employees asked for officer assistance regarding a possible child abuse victim in the emergency room.

When officers arrived at the medical center, nurses told them two women brought a child into the emergency room for treatment of a injury to the child's forehead above his left eye. Officers talked with the boy's mother, who said she was in another part of the house, but was told by a witness that Fritsch had "head-butted" her son for allegedly playing with a "bottle and pacifier that did not belong to him."

The baby's mother told investigators "the head-butt was Zachary's form of disciplining" the child.

When asked by police if she was in a relationship with Fritsch, she said "no." The woman told police she had full custody of the child.

A woman who accompanied the toddler and his mother to the medical center told police she witnessed the incident. She told police she saw Fritsch yell at (the toddler) to come to him. He walked over to his father, who grabbed him by his shoulders, forcing him to look at him (Fritsch) face-to-face, she said.

"Zachary then 'head-butted' him in the forehead," the complaint states the woman told police. "The child started to scream and cry and then ran to (his mother, who had just entered the room). Zachary stated (to her) he had to discipline the child because he did something wrong."

Officers discussed the situation with emergency room personnel, who told officers they had already notified the Iowa Department of Human Resources about the possible child abuse. West Burlington officers submitted a follow-up report to DHS officials about information they had gathered during their investigation.

Following additional investigation, a warrant was issued for Fritsch's arrest. He surrendered to authorities late Monday at the Des Moines County jail, where he remains in custody in lieu of the $6,000 cash bond.

Dean ordered him to next appear in court at 2 p.m. Feb. 23. She appointed the Des Moines County Public Defender's Office to represent him.