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Are you prepared in case a dog bites your child?

A 4-year-old girl from Susquehanna Township recently received 30 to 40 stitches after a dog attacked her causing severe bite wounds on her neck. According to a local news report, police have since filed charges to hold the dog’s owner responsible.

Unfortunately, children like this 4-year-old are especially vulnerable to dog bites. Children are more likely than adults are to be bitten by a dog, and the injuries sustained from a dog bite are usually more severe for children. Dog bites cause children more injuries than bicycles, skateboards and even playgrounds, and bites to the face, neck and head are especially common.

What should I do if a dog bites my child?

Because children are so vulnerable to dog bites, it may be prudent to take steps to prevent this from occurring. However, it may also be beneficial to make sure you know what to do in case a dog ever does bite your child.

The most important action to take following a dog bite is to make sure your child’s wounds are properly treated. Although you can treat minor wounds at home, dog bites can spread diseases and their wounds can become easily infected. For these reasons, it may be safest to have every dog bite wound treated by a doctor. If the wounds are severe, it may be appropriate to call 911 and request an ambulance.

If it is safe to do so, it may be worthwhile to contact the dog’s owner before your child visits the doctor. A copy of the dog’s vaccination history may help your child’s doctor rule out unnecessary treatments.

You may also consider reporting the incident to your local animal control or law enforcement agency. Documentation of the incident, like medical records and police reports, can prove beneficial later when dealing with an insurance company or a lawsuit.

When a dog bites a child, it can cause physical pain as well as mental trauma. While you may hope that your child never has to endure an experience like that, being prepared for the possibility can help ensure that the right actions are taken promptly to protect your child and your child’s rights.

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