Dog bites are more common than you might think. Just in the United States alone, there are some 850,000 dog bite victims that require medical attention every year. Of that number, 400,000 victims are children, with kids between the ages of five and nine at the highest risk. If it happens to your child, you should be prepared to take action.
Seek Medical Attention
Don’t downplay any type of bite from a dog when it affects your child. Call 911 or seek medical attention immediately. There is always the risk of infection or rabies, so don’t ignore a dog biting incident even if it appears minor. Head to the hospital, so your child can be seen by the proper medical authorities. According to the experts, a child who is bitten by an animal, including a dog, may need antibiotics, a tetanus booster or rarely, a series of rabies shots.
Call Animal Control Officer
The community-at-large needs to be aware of any dog biting incident, so report it immediately. Call your local police department and get in touch with the animal control officer so that you can file a report and have the experts apprehend the animal as soon as possible, especially if it is on the loose. Every state has different laws, but when it comes to dog biting incidents. all states but Hawaii have measures in place, where dogs are required to be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days.
Identify the Dog Owner
Now, this is not always possible because the dog may have been by itself when the animal bit your child. Maybe the dog is one that you have never observed in your neighborhood. However, it may be a dog you are aware of and know where its owner resides. Often, the dog owner is a friend, neighbor or relative. Get that information, and if the owner was present during the incident, ask for proof of rabies vaccinations and other pertinent information.
Document the Injuries
Take photographs of your child’s injury from the attack, and keep taking more photos as the dog bite heals. It is important to record these physical aspects of the case. Also, keep a weekly log of the event to assess your child’s healing from a dog attack and bite as your case remains open.
Contact an Attorney
You may not believe that you need any assistance following a dog that attacked and bit your child. However, incidents such as these can be quite complex for people who are not versed in the legal system. One of the best recommendations is to contact a dog bite lawyer who can walk you through what steps you have the option of taking. They can advise you about the developments in the case and if you are eligible for compensation in the way of emotional damages and/or medical bills. There’s no shame in seeking legal advice. It’s your right, and protecting your child is something every parent wants to make sure takes place. Legal representation can make all the difference.
Consider Therapy for Your Kid
Unfortunately, children often blame themselves after a stressful incident, and when a dog bite occurs, it can result in a child with emotional stress or even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Behavioral therapists recommend having your child see a specialist to determine if trauma counseling is needed.
Children are incredible, special beings and will heal most of the time following a dog bite. However, the incident can be serious, not only physically, but emotionally to your child. As a parent, it’s your job to ensure that your kids are well-protected at all times.