A dog attack can be devastating and even deadly, especially to a child. A dog can inflict serious injuries, including deep scratches and large bite wounds. Often, dog bites get infected, posing a serious health risk. Here’s how you can protect your children from potential dog attacks.
John Maher: Hi I’m John Maher and today I am here with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the law firm Mazow | McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts in New Hampshire.
Robert and Kevin have great deal of experience as dog bite attorneys and today we are going to be talking about how to protect your children from dog attacks.
Robert and Kevin welcome.
Robert Mazow: Thank you.
Kevin McCullough: Good morning John.
Are Children at a Higher Risk for Dog Attacks?
John: Are children more at risk for a dog attack than adults?
Robert: John, the dog bite cases that we see in children tend to be more serious because they tend to occur in the facial area. Obviously, children would be more likely to be lower to the ground in the dog’s attack range, so the cases we see are damages to children eyes, their cheeks, and really deep tissue kinds of injuries.
John: Right. Is the dog bite then more dangerous in a child than in an adult typically?
Robert: I don’t know if more dangerous necessarily. If the dog has a propensity to be dangerous, the dog is going to be dangerous. But I think the child is more likely to approach a dog without the fear or built in protection that an adult might have.
John: Adults tend to be more cautious and maybe even like think to ask the owner, “Is it OK if I pet this dog?” whereas the child will just go up and just do it.
Robert: Exactly. So we tend to see that a child might startle the dog, even a dog that does not necessarily have danger propensity, and every dog is going to react differently.
If a child approaches them quickly, a dog could turn around and latch onto their face or their upper body or their arms very quickly.
John: That’s another problem too. I think that because kids are obviously shorter than adults typically, dog bites probably tend to be more in upper body and in the face and the neck and areas like that, whereas with an adult it might be more the legs or the hands.
Robert: Exactly. In adults, we do see some facial injures if they’re down on the ground, perhaps playing with the dog, but more likely in an adult, we are going to see [injuries on] the arms and hands, because they’re fending off the dog or maybe they approaching the dog from that angle.
How Can a Parent Help Prevent Dog Attacks?
John: OK. How can a parent help to prevent a dog from attacking their child?
Kevin: Parents can be mindful of the type of dog that they let their children around, whether it’s a dog that they own or whether they’re visiting friends and family and relatives.
Just be cautious and make sure that they don’t leave their kids alone in a room with the dog. Make sure that they don’t sneak up from behind on the dog and startle the dog as Robert had mentioned. Because children are smaller, they tend to approach the dog at eye level.
That’s something that the dog may feel threatened by and may feel the need to react to defend itself. So, just be mindful of that where you are at, the type of dogs that may be there, and take the appropriate steps to keep your children away from dogs that may be dangerous or known to be dangerous.
Robert: Just adding on to that, I think a parent telling a child early on to be mindful of dogs, to make sure they speak with the owner or the person handling the dog before they even attempt to approach the dog or try to pet the dog.
John: Right. Without scaring a child, because you obviously you don’t want a kid to just be growing up and be afraid of animals. But give them a little bit of cautious approach to it where, you definitely ask the owner if it’s OK if you pet the dog.
Make sure you put your hand out a little bit for the dog and wait for them to come to you. Teach your child a little bit of those standard ways to approach an animal that we’ve all learned. I think it is probably a good thing to do.
What to Do If Your Child Is Bitten by a Dog
John: What should a parent do then in the event that their child is bitten by a dog?
Kevin: A parent should get the immediate appropriate medical attention for the child and that should be in response to the type of bite or the type of dog attack, obviously.
If it’s something very extensive or severe, get immediate medical treatment, listen to the doctors, follow up with the pediatrician for the child and also do the follow up in communicating with the dog owner or the location where the dog incident occurred.
Take the appropriate steps to contact the police, gather witness information but specifically for the medical treatment, get the treatment that is appropriate with that bite, whether it’s going to the hospital or just following up with a pediatrician or both.
Ultimately, with severe bites it may require some scar revision and following up with plastic surgeons.
John: Right. All right that’s really great information Robert and Kevin thanks for meeting to speak with me today.
Robert: Thank you.
Kevin: Thank you.
John: For more information on dog bite cases or other personal injury cases visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call 855-693-9084.