No parent wants to see their child bitten by a dog, however, dog bites are common in children. Children are often naturally attracted to dogs, making them easy targets for aggressive dogs. In addition, many dogs can become fearful or alarmed by a child’s behavior, making them more prone to bite children than adults. Whatever the cause, a dog attack can seriously injure a small child, including permanent disfigurement, emotional trauma and even fatal injuries.
Dog Aggression Toward Children
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are approximately 4.5 million dog bites per year, with over half of these victims being children. Children in the age group of 5-9 years of age have the highest incidence of dog bite injuries, while children in general are more likely to have serious injuries from a dog attack. Although there are many theories on why dog attacks on children are so common, some of the most accepted theories include:
- Dominance. It is generally accepted that dogs have a pack mentality and view the humans around them as part of a pack. A dog may view a child as a subordinate in the hierarchy, making them vulnerable to bites.
- Education. Children are less likely to be educated on dog behavior and be able to read the signs that a dog may be about to attack. A child may approach a dog that is in pain or fearful, while an adult can usually recognize these signs.
- High energy. Children tend to move in fast and unpredictable manners, causing anxiety in some dogs. When a dog has anxiety or is afraid, they are more likely to bite.
However, regardless of the reason why a dog may bite a child, it is usually not the fault of the child. Both parents and dog owners need to be aware that any dog can and will bite in certain circumstances, so children should not be left alone to play with a dog nor should dogs ever be allowed to roam freely in a neighborhood.
Severity Of Child Dog Bite Injuries
Due to their small size, children are at high risk for serious dog injuries. The American Humane Society estimates that 60% of injuries to children from dog bites are in the head and neck regions. This is most likely due to the proximity of the head on a child to the mouth of a dog, making it the easiest target. However, hands, arms and legs are also commonly bitten areas on both children and adults.
The severity of these bites on a child can be extreme. Dog bites can not only puncture, they can also rip skin, muscles and tendons, causing extensive damage. In severe cases, these injuries can be fatal; 70% of all dog attack fatalities are children under the age of 10. For those who survive the attack, many will require:
- Medical attention. 1 in 5 dog bites require medical attention. This can require stitches, surgery and long-term therapy.
- Plastic surgery. Many dog bites result in disfigurement. Children may need plastic surgery to reduce the appearance of scars and in severe disfigurement, undergo reconstruction.
- Psychological treatment. A dog attack can leave emotional as well as physical scars. Some children may require counseling.
The injuries from a dog bite on a child can cause irreparable damage to both the child and family. In most cases, the dog owner is responsible for the injuries that their dog caused and can be held legally responsible for paying medical bills and other expenses that are related to the dog bite injury.Attorneys With Experience Representing Minors In Illinois Dog Bite Attack Cases
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers appreciate the long-lasting impact a dog bite can have a lasting impact on the individual as they develop into adulthood. Our Chicago dog attack attorneys know the law and take steps to protect children involved in these incidents from insurance companies who may be pushing for an under-valued settlement. If your child was involved in a dog bite or other type of dog attack, we invite you to talk to our attorneys without any cost or obligation to see if we are a good fit for you. Contact us today.
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