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3 actions parents can take if a dog bites their child

No parent wants to their child to get hurt. However, children can be prone to injuries. Sometimes the best thing a parent can do is prepare to handle as many situations as possible.

Unfortunately, dog bites are common injuries. Almost 5 million dog bites happen in the United States each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children have the highest risk of dog bites, and when dogs bite kids, the injuries are usually more severe. With these statistics in mind, it can be good to familiarize yourself with the actions you should take in the event a dog ever bites your child.

Seek medical care

If your child's wounds are severe, your child may need emergency medical care. This may be the case if the wound is deep, does not stop bleeding or is on a sensitive area, like your child’s face.

If your child’s wounds are minor, you may be inclined to treat the them at home. However, dog bite wounds can be deceptive. Wounds that can appear minor may be more severe than they look. Injuries to muscle, nerves, tendons and bones may not be immediately obvious. Also, dog bites can easily spread diseases, like rabies, and dog bite wounds are especially prone to infection.

Collect information

If your child does not need immediate medical care or if two parents are available, it can also be helpful to collect information as soon as possible after the incident occurred. Try to collect and record the following:

  • The dog’s name
  • The dog owner’s name and address
  • The dog’s vaccination record
  • The names and phone numbers of witnesses
  • The details surrounding the incident

Report the incident

Consider reporting the incident to law enforcement or your local animal control agency. This can help ensure there is a formal record of the incident, and it can help prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.

Depending on the circumstances, it may also be appropriate to hold the dog owner responsible. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your child’s medical expenses or other costs related to the injuries.

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