Animal Bite Wounds Is Your Child Safe

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Dog and animal bites and attacks are more common that you may know. Each year, there are a reported 4.5 to 4.7 million serious dog bite incidents in the United States and these are just the ones reported. Millions more go unreported, either because people aren't aware that they need to report them, or they don't feel it is serious enough to do so. Either way, educating yourself on the situation and knowing how to prevent them is key, especially if you have children.

Having animals and children in a household can be hard if the child is not taught how to treat the animal, or if the animal is skittish around them. Children are more at risk for animal bites for a number of reasons. As a parent, it is necessary to learn how to prevent an attack and what to do in case an incident does occur.
Choose a breed that is good around small children. Consult a veterinarian, knowledgeable pet store employee or an employee at a local shelter. They will be able to tell you more about breeds and temperament with children.
Introduce the dog to the child, and the child to the dog in incremental amounts of time. This will let both of them get used to each other. If a child seems frightened by dogs, wait before bringing it into your household until he/she is fully ready.
Teach your child how to act with the dog. Allowing rough play, hitting, smacking or chasing can lead to disastrous results.
Spay/neuter your dog/pet, it often reduces the aggressive tendencies they may have.
Train the dog by attending an obedience school. He/she will learn to be submissive and less aggressive, especially around children.

Children's playful behavior may also inadvertently provoke and irritate a dog and cause it to attack, and because a child may not be aware of the warning signs of an impending attack, they will not be able to prevent them from happening. Being smaller in stature also makes them more susceptible to severe damage, and less able to fight off a powerful dog.

If your child does become the victim of a dog or other animal bite, there are some steps that should be taken to ensure proper treatment and overall safety and health. Parents sometimes treat the child at home to avoid an emergency room visit. However, there is the added risk of rabies and disfigurement which threaten to harm a child long after the biting incident if the wound isn't quickly treated by a professional. Parents sometimes believe that disinfecting the wound at home is enough to avoid infection in the wound, however, there is a risk of developing an infection days after the initial incident. For this reason, Pediatricians often administer antibiotics.

The drug Augmentin is often used. It is much stronger than Penicillin, and can fight off unknown bacteria effectively. Physicians also like to closely monitor the child, because infections can potentially spread to other areas of the body.

It is vital to take the necessary steps to not only having the dog bite treated, but also in preserving any evidence of the attack that can assist with building a potential lawsuit if the animal in question was not owned by the parents of the child. Seeking medical attention promptly is the most important; a wound may seem superficial (skin only), but it can overlay possible fractures, and torn tendons, vessels and nerves.

After the initial visit to the hospital, follow up visits should be kept. The wound need to be checked for infection. The child also needs to be monitored for any signs of systematic illness, among other things. Until the wound is completely healed, the child should be under a physician's close care.


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