Dog Bites: Young Children Are Most At Risk

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Dog Bites on Monday, February 11, 2013

Dog bites represent a growing problem in the U.S., with a substantial increase in the incidents of dog bites and the related dog bite injures. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports there has been an 88 percent increase in dog bite injuries over the last two decades.

A dog bite can cause physical injuries, often requiring multiple reconstructive surgeries, because especially with children, the injuries are frequently to the face. They can also result in psychological issues, as both children and adults may require counseling and other mental health care to overcome anxieties and fear after the attack.

The issue may not receive the attention of other media crisis, perhaps because the average number of annual fatalities is “only” 15, but two-third of those are children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are about 4.5 million people bitten by dogs in a year, and 20 percent will need medical attention for the bite.

The more severe dog bits will need reconstructive surgery to repair the scaring and other injuries. The CDC notes that in 2006, 31,000 people needed surgery after a dog bite. Most of those bitten in the face by a dog are younger than five-years of age.

This makes sense, as young children are fascinated by dogs and often place their faces near a dog’s head. If you have children, you should warn them not to get too close to a dog that does not know them.

If someone is injured, seek medical assistance immediately, and if the attack was unexpected or unprovoked, speak with an attorney, as there may be compensation available to help with medical expenses resulting from a dog bite.

Source: Ravalli Republic, “Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to dog bite injuries,” John Holtzen, D.M.D., Jan. 28, 2013

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