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blog home Dog Bites The Struggle to Protect Children From Dog Bites

The Struggle to Protect Children From Dog Bites

By Colorado Personal Injury Attorney on September 20, 2019

As stated in a Science Daily article, approximately 4.7 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs every year, and 20% of the victims require medical attention for their resulting injuries. Children ages five to nine years old account for most of the victims who receive medical attention. Children have a much higher risk of injury from dog bites than adults.

If your child has suffered serious injury from a dog bite, contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, right away at (303) 665-2929. Our Boulder personal injury lawyer is a tough advocate for children who are bitten by dogs. Our firm was founded in 1992. We have recovered tens of millions of dollars in settlements, arbitration awards, and verdicts for our clients. We are often used by medical providers and other attorneys when they or their family members are injured.

What Breeds and Physical Traits Pose the Highest Risk of Biting with Severe Injuries?

The Science Daily article reports that researchers in a new study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology (the study of ear, nose, and throat diseases) found that pit bulls and mixed breeds have the highest risk of biting and cause the most damage when they do. This is also true for dogs with short, wide heads that weigh between 66 and 100 pounds. Young children are particularly vulnerable to being bitten because they may not notice subtle signs that a dog may bite.

Tips for Dog Owners to Help Protect Children from Dog Bites

As reported by Science Daily, Meghan Herron, associate professor of veterinary clinical services at Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine, recommends that pet owners avoid any confrontational or risky interactions that children may mimic, which might trigger a fear or fear-aggression response from the dog, such as: harsh reprimands, smacking the dog, pushing the dog off furniture, or forcibly taking an item away. Ms. Heron also offers the following tips:

  • Most dog bites among children occur when the family dog is resting and the child approaches. Encourage resting places away from where children play.
  • Teach your children to leave resting dogs alone and stay out of dog crates, beds, and other designated resting places for the dog. If the dog has a favorite spot on a couch or chair, put down a blanket or towel to clearly mark the area.
  • Dogs often bite children even when an adult is in the room. It you are unable to pay close attention to the interactions between the dog and child, a physical barrier, such as a baby gate or crate for the dog, may be the best solution. This is particularly important with toddlers, who may behave more erratically and unpredictably and frighten the dog.
  • Provide a quiet area for dogs to eat away from where your children play. Teach your children to never approach, touch, or interact with dogs while they are eating. Rawhide strip and chews should only be given to dogs when they are separated from children’s play areas.
  • Teach children to find an adult if a dog takes their food or toys away. They should never attempt to retrieve these items themselves.

Children Who Are Bitten in the Face May Require Plastic Surgery

Science Daily also reported on a study published in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery. After reviewing 10 years of common dog bites to the faces of children, researchers in this study found that, regardless of the severity of trauma, most dog bite injuries result in scars requiring secondary revision surgery.

Dr. Barry L. Eppley of Indiana University Health North Hospital was one of the researchers conducting the study. He treated 105 children with dog bites of the face, scalp, and neck from 1995 to 2005. The youngest child was six weeks, and the oldest was 11.5 years. In 95% of these cases, the dog was known to the child and family. The most common breed causing the injuries was pit bull, followed by Chow-Chow, German shepherd, and Doberman pinscher. Most of these bites were classified as provoked, meaning they occurred when the child was petting, playing, or interacting with the dog.

In most of the children who were bitten, the bites caused crush, laceration, and shear injuries. Most wounds could be closed with sutures, although some required skin grafting or reconstructive surgery. In more than 75% of these cases, the child needed additional scar-revision surgery to improve aesthetic results, and approximately 25% of these children required second or third revision surgery.

Dogs that bite can cause serious or fatal injuries, particularly to young children. If your child has been bitten by a dog, call the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, today. Our Boulder dog bite injury lawyer has a successful track record recovering compensation for our clients.

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Posted in: Dog Bites

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