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What should you know about dog bites and children?

Children in Connecticut are naturally curious about animals and may not realize the potential danger that a dog can pose. Knowing the facts about dog bites, how and when they occur, as well as the physical and psychological damage they can cause, can help you to protect your child.

According to the Mayo Clinic, most dog bites come from an animal known to the child, either a pet belonging to neighbors or relatives or a dog belonging to the child's family. It is less common for a child to receive a bite from a strange dog. Most dog bites on children occur during the hours after school lets out, between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m. Despite the public's misconceptions about dangerous dog breeds, any type of dog has the potential to bite a child.

Due to the similarities in height, a dog which attacks a small child is more likely to bite on the head and neck, which could puncture the jugular vein or carotid artery and cause the child to exsanguinate. A dog bite is a complex mechanism of injury that may result in broken bones, puncture/laceration or tissue loss. Once the dog gets a hold on a child, the animal may shake the victim, which can result in head injury. 

Trauma resulting from dog bite may require reconstructive surgery, especially if the site of injury is the face. However, the scars an animal attack can leave on a child are not only physical but also psychological. The child will require psychosocial support in the hospital setting, and psychiatric and psychological staff should also provide guidance when it comes time to introduce the child to another dog following dismissal from the hospital. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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