Child Injuries from Dog Bites
HAS YOUR CHILD SUFFERED A DOG BITE?
Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. In 2015 alone, 34 people died of dog bite-related injuries. Unfortunately, due to their small size and lack of knowledge about the dangers of a dog, children are especially susceptible to dog bites. In addition, when children are bitten by a dog, their injuries are oftentimes more severe due to the location of the injury occurring in sensitive areas such as the throat and head. Seventy-nine percent of the fatal dog attacks that occurred in 2015 involved children.
Dogs live with us, play with us, help decrease our stress and increase our happiness. Americans own an estimated 70 to 80 million dogs as pets. However, sometimes man’s best friend will bite. Millions of Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and some of these dog bites cause serious injuries. Physical injuries from dog bites include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Loss of limb
- Broken bones
- Wound infection
Emotional and mental trauma can be incurred during a dog attack as well. These injuries oftentimes outlast physical injuries caused by the dog bites. Physical and mental injuries to a child can last into their adult years.
If your child is bitten, dog bite treatment should consist of:
- Washing the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Applying an antibiotic cream or ointment.
- If pain, swelling, or redness persists, seek medical attention as your dog bite wound may be infected.
- Seek medical attention if the dog bite is deep or bleeding significantly.
- Try to confirm if the dog has its rabies vaccine, and seek medical attention if you are unsure or concerned about the potential of rabies.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR DOG BITES?
Although dogs bite people of every age and gender, children between the ages of 5 and 9 have the highest rate of dog-bite injuries. In addition, children are also more likely to require dog bite treatment for injuries resulting from dog bites.
In younger children, dog bites also occur in more serious areas, including the head, neck, and face. As children grow older, dog bites more commonly occur in the extremities, such as the hands and fingers.
In many instances, dog bites occur in your backyard — literally. The majority of dog attacks (61 percent) happen at home or at a familiar place. In addition, 75 percent of dog bites come from dogs that belong to a friend or family member of the victim.
HOW TO PREVENT DOG BITES
Many dog bites can be avoided if proper action is taken. Here are some safety tips for avoiding a dog bite:
- Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar or aggressive dog.
- Curl into a ball and cover your head and neck with your hands if you are knocked to the ground.
- Let other adults know about stray or strange dogs in the area.
- Never let small children play around dogs unsupervised.
- Do not approach unfamiliar dogs.
- Let a dog see and sniff you before petting it.
SIX MOST DANGEROUS DOG BREEDS
No matter the breed, every dog is capable of biting and injuring you or a child. However, some dogs have caused more fatal injuries than others. Here are the top six most dangerous breeds, with the number of deaths caused between 2005 and 2015:
- Pit bull (232 deaths — 64.4% of total dog bite fatalities in 11-year period)
- Rottweiler (41)
- German shepherd (13)
- Mastiff/Bullmastiff (12)
- Husky (12)
- American bulldog (11)
MY CHILD WAS BITTEN BY A DOG. WHAT DO I DO?
If your child is attacked and bitten by a dog,
- Get your child to a safe place.
- Administer dog bite treatment. Wash out the wound with soap and water. Seek medical attention if the wound is serious.
- Contact local animal control agency or police department to report the incident.
- Contact owner of animal (if known).
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED DOG BITE LAWYER
If you or your child are a victim of dog bites, you may be entitled to compensation for your physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering. Negligent property owners and dog owners could owe you damages. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are available 24/7 to hear your case. If you were injured by a dog, contact Thomas J. Henry for a free case review.