Following the May 1, 2020 revised ‘Shelter in Place’ Order from Governor Pritzker regarding containment efforts for the COVID-19 pandemic, our offices are now open. Consistent with the restrictions imposed, all individuals entering our offices are required to wear a protective face mask and continue to maintain a distance of six feet from others. Our staff will also be wearing protective face masks. Thank you for your patience and cooperation during these unusual times. Stay safe, and we look forward to helping you with your legal needs.

Shay & Associates

Get trusted advice from our personal injury team. CALL NOW.
Decatur: 217-619-8191 | Springfield: 217-481-9690

What happens if a dog bites a child?
Timothy Shay

Children have especially high risks when it comes to dog bites. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, children are more likely to be bitten by a dog than adults are, and their injuries are likely to be more severe than what adults might experience.

Children may be so vulnerable to dog bites for a variety of reasons. One reason may be that understanding a dog’s body language is an acquired skill. Many children, especially young children, have not yet learned how to behave safely around dogs and are unable to tell when a dog may be more likely to bite.

Another reason may be that children are often a more similar height to dogs than adults are. If a child’s head is closer to a dog’s head, it may be more likely that the dog bites the child on sensitive areas like the face or neck. Bites to these areas can involve much more damage than a similar bite might cause to a less sensitive body part.

Can a child’s risk be reduced?

Parents can help reduce their child’s risk of being bitten by providing supervision whenever they are with a dog, even if it is the family pet. Any dog, even friendly family pets, can bite under the right circumstances. Parents can also help reduce their child’s risks by teaching him or her how to behave safely around dogs, and what signs may indicate it is time to leave a dog alone.

However, pet owners must also act responsibly. This can include securing the dog on a leash or on the property. This can also include proper training and other safety precautions.

How should parents respond to a child’s injury?

If a dog bites a child, it may be best to seek emergency medical treatment. Dog bite wounds are prone to infection and even minor-looking wounds can involve unseen injuries to muscle, bone, tendons or nerves.

If time allows, it can also help for a parent or guardian to collect information about the situation. This can include the owner’s contact information, the dog’s vaccination history, and the contact information for any witnesses.

These and other details about the attack can help doctors determine what treatments are most appropriate. They can also help protect the child’s interests if parents decide to hold the dog’s owner legally responsible.