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When a dog bites a child it can be particularly devastating. A child is more likely to be attacked by a dog and to have more severe injuries. Those more severe injuries can produce long-term consequences for a child such as scarring or long-term emotional trauma.
Adults around the child will want to act quickly in this situation. Separate the dog and the child, get medical attention for the child, and contact a New Jersey dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to help win financial compensation to help the child recover.
Information from the Centers for Disease Control has found that 50% of dog bite victims are children. The most likely place for an attack to occur is in the child’s home.
There are several reasons that a dog will bite a child or toddler. The first is a child’s smaller size makes them a more likely target. Children may also not know what signs to watch for when an animal is stressed. Without seeing that a dog is stressed, they may unintentionally provoke an attack. Another reason dogs will attack children is because they are guarding their resources such as toys or food. A child can see toys or foods as a way to interact with the dog, or may simply want the item for themselves, and try to take it away from a dog prompting an attack. In another scenario, the movements of a toddler or child can be sudden and unpredictable to a dog. This can startle them and cause a dog to attack or bite.
It is not always stranger dogs that parents need to be wary of. In this study, 53% of children at an emergency room for dog bites were bit by a dog in their immediate or extended family. The median age of children in the study was 5. This is consistent with other studies that found that younger children may be more likely to be bit by a dog they are familiar with and older children may be bit by dogs that are unknown to them.
From the study above, it was found that 26% of kids need to go to the emergency room after a dog attack, but only 12% of adults. Dog bites in children often involve the head and neck area. This is the area on the body the dog will attack and is due to the smaller size of children.
Injuries to the face and neck can cause permanent, visible scarring. Parents may wish to insist their child be seen by a plastic surgeon in the emergency room. This can prevent a child from also suffering emotional stress from having scars or disfigurement for the rest of their lives.
The best thing parents and adults can do is to never leave a child alone with a dog. Even the family dog. Dogs were found to be less likely to attack a child if there was an adult present.
Parents can also teach children what signs to watch for when a dog will become stressed. Educate children (and yourself) on how to approach an animal you don’t know.
It is best to speak to an attorney experienced with dog bite cases involving children. New Jersey laws recognize child victims differently than adult victims. The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer specializes in helping minor victims that were bit by a dog as he understands how this can impact a child far beyond the incident. Book a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your dog bite claim.