Dog bites are one of the most common types of child injuries in Chicago. Although most Illinois dog bites consist of small nips that do no harm, thousands children visited emergency rooms this year due to severe dog bite injuries.
Nationally, children make up more than half of the 4.5 million dog bite victims. About 1 in 5 dog bite victims requires medical attention according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Annually, about 30,000 people require reconstructive surgery because of the severity of their dog bites.
The CDC says that children ages 5 to 9 are most likely to be bitten by dogs. These are children that tend to be old enough to be left alone with dogs but too young to always exercise the appropriate amount of caution and judgment around dogs.
There are many things that parents can do to prevent child dog bites, including:
- Not adopting pets with a history of aggression
- Spaying or neutering animals
- Avoiding aggressive games with animals
- Training your dog in a formal obedience class
- Teaching children to learn animal cues
- Supervising all visiting children around the family pet
- Never allowing your children to play with the dog’s food
- Leaving a dog in a backyard or confined to a room when multiple children are visiting
Source: CDC, “Dog Bite Prevention.”