A Kansas man is to be charged by police after he allegedly spat and hurled a racial slur at a three-year-old child at a Hooters restaurant.

The Overland Park police department confirmed in a statement that the officers were called to the eatery on 26 February regarding the battery of a child.

The child's family said they were celebrating a birthday at Hooters with about around 30 guests when the boy wandered away from the party.

When a relative came to retrieve toddler, onlookers said another customer called the child the N-word and spat at him.

"Witnesses on scene reported the child was called a racial slur and the suspect spit on the child," Lacey said.

Although the man has not been has not been named yet, authorities said that original reports that the man was a firefighter were false.

Police sources told KCTV that possible charges could include battery and making a criminal threat.

A witness at the scene said he was left dumbfounded by the man's actions. "He basically said get that little 'blank' up off the floor," he recalled. "The 'n-word' started to get thrown around."

The source said he expected a physical altercation would follow, but instead, police were called to the scene.

The child's grandfather told KCTV: "My whole body just went numb. How could someone do that to a child? He's a baby. He's helpless. He didn't deserve that." He would only speak on the condition of anonymity, fearing he may be targeted.

"Sick to my stomach. But you know what? You have to pray for people like that. This society needs to come together. When it's a child, it's not right."

Hooters said in a statement that the company "does not tolerate any harassment or discriminatory language, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees are our utmost priorities" and would be cooperating with law enforcement.