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Who Is Most at Risk for Dog Bites?


As a parent or guardian, it is imperative to understand the potential dangers of dogs around children. Unfortunately, children make up the largest percentage of those who are bitten by dogs, with the majority falling into the mid-to-late childhood stage. As such, it is crucial to be aware of the dangers dogs can pose to children and take steps to protect their safety. Keep reading to learn more.

Why Are Children Most Susceptible to Dog Bites?

Children can exhibit unpredictable behaviors, often making sudden and loud sounds while moving erratically. They may also be fascinated with dogs and may want to touch them, even when the dog is displaying fearful or aggressive behavior. Unfortunately, this can lead to bites or attacks.

Why Do Dogs Bite?

While it may seem like dog bites come out of nowhere, there are usually multiple reasons why a dog feels the need to bite. From feeling threatened to warning signs of discomfort, there are factors that should be taken into account before approaching a dog. Unfortunately, many people miss these signs, which can lead to a bite. Even small nicks should not be ignored, as they can be a warning sign of a dog's discomfort.

What Common Injuries Do Children Suffer from Dog Bites?

Dog bites can cause serious injuries, especially to children's heads and necks. In a five-year study, it was found that over 60% of dog bites occurred in this area. The hands and arms were the next most common location for bites at 20.6%, followed by the feet and legs at 13%. Unfortunately, these types of injuries can lead to permanent scars and loss of function in sensitive areas of the body.

In another study, Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was also found to be a possible outcome for children who have experienced a dog bite or attack. Oftentimes, children may need psychological treatment for their prolonged emotional distress.

Furthermore, children tend to be over-represented among those who require hospitalization or even experience fatal consequences following a dog attack. The reasons for this may be due to their small size in comparison to the dog, making them more vulnerable to severe and lasting injuries. While dog bites can occur to anyone and at any age, it is crucial to recognize the unique risk posed to children and take precautions to ensure their safety.

Dog Safety Tips for Children

When it comes to dog bites and attacks against children, it’s easy to assume that other dogs are the culprits. However, many of these incidents actually happen at home. This highlights the importance of teaching children about dog safety from a young age.

Dog safety tips to teach children:

  • Ask first. Always ask the owner before approaching the dog or petting them. A dog may startle easily or not be well socialized. Asking the owner is always the first step to see if they are comfortable with others approaching their dog.
  • Walk, don't run. When approaching a dog, do not run directly towards them, as this can be perceived as threatening.
  • Be gentle. When petting a dog, try to make calm and predictable moves. Pet in a smooth downward motion, from the back of the neck to the tail, rather than "clapping" your hands around the dog's ears or face.
  • Don’t approach if the dog is eating. Dogs may be food-protective and can bite out of fear of their meal being taken away.

Finally, as a parent or guardian, it's important to be cautious and supervise children’s interactions with dogs. Regardless of how well-behaved a dog may seem, you never know how they may react. Therefore, it's critical to always be in the same room or nearby when your child is playing with a dog.

Have You or Your Child Been Injured from a Dog Bite?

If you or anyone you care about has suffered an injury caused by another person's dog, don't hesitate to reach out to Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC. Our team of experienced dog-bite attorneys understands the devastating impact these incidents can have on your life, and we are here to help you navigate the complicated legal process.

We can work tirelessly to help you identify whether you have a case and will fight aggressively to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Dial (843) 968-0886 or reach out to our team online today.