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Dog Bites on Children Nearly Tripled Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

child dog bites during covid-19

Summary: Dog bites are on the rise during quarantine—most likely thanks to more time and stress at home, and less supervision from adults who are multitasking. If your child has been bitten by a dog, the most important thing you can do is get them prompt care from a medical professional. As soon as they are safe, contact our team at McCoy & Sparks to help you cover medical expenses and protect your child’s long-term interests, including getting compensation from the owner of the dog.

In any given “normal” year, more than 50 percent of dog bites victims are children. But during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, with shelter-in-place orders, quarantine, and social distancing in effect, dog bites attacks among children are sharply on the rise.

With this news, it’s important to know that:

  • Children have the highest incidents of dog bites
  • Among children, kids ages 5-9 have the highest rates of dog bites
  • Infants, toddlers, and young children are most likely to be bitten on the head and neck
  • The most effective way to prevent a dog biting a child is through careful adult supervision

Most dog bites involve the family dog or another dog that is known by the child. What steps can you take after your child has been bitten by someone’s dog?

A Rise in Dog Bites During Quarantine

Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a steep increase in the number of dog bites involving children. Just how many more occurrences of dog attacks involving children? One particular study noted a 3-fold increase in the rate of visits to pediatric emergency departments because of dog bites since March. And even as the weather improved in spring and summer and families began spending more time together, these numbers have still remained high.

During social distancing, the lockdown affected 82 million kids across the country, and 77 million dogs. With everyone together at home, it’s easy for tensions to rise, or for kids to have excess energy. Besides more family togetherness, what factors are attributed to this rise in the rate of dog bites?

  • Additional contact between children and dogs with more time at home during the day
  • A dog experiencing more stress following intensified family stress, which is known as “emotional contagion”
  • Busy adults balancing work, homeschooling, and home duties all at once, which results in less adult supervision between kids and dogs

What to Do If Your Child Has Been Bitten By a Dog

Dogs can have sharp teeth and powerful jaws. With their front teeth, they can grab and compress tissue, and with the smaller teeth can tear into the skin. The resulting wound is frequently open and jagged. In the case that a dog bite becomes infected, it can be a very serious situation.

 Since the main concern with any dog bite is infection, it means you should take your child to your primary care physician or ER right away. But what should you do in the meantime?

The Cleveland Clinic has put together a guide for dog bite wound care, which should help prevent infection in the time between the bite and when you can get medical attention. After a dog bite, here’s how you can clean and bandage a dog bite until you can get to a doctor:

  1. Wash the wound with mild soap and warm water, then run more warm tap water over the wound for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Slow down the bleeding with pressure from a clean cloth.
  3. Apply antibiotic cream to the wound if you have it.
  4. Wrap and cover the wound with a sterile bandage.
  5. See your doctor or take your child to the ER as soon as possible.
  6. Once your doctor has examined the wound, change the bandages several times per day, or otherwise do as your doctor directs.
  7. Watch for signs of infection like redness, pain, and fever. If you suspect infection, contact your medical doctor or hospital immediately.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, your child should see a doctor within 8 hours of being bitten ( or sooner if they have excessive bleeding or other troubling signs). The medical provider will want to know more about the dog that bit your child and your child may need intravenous antibiotics and/or a tetanus shot. The longer your child goes without medical care, the more likely it is that their bite will become infected.

What’s Next? Steps to Take After You’ve Taken Your Child to a Doctor

When a dog injures a person, that person (or their parent/guardian) can  recover from the dog’s owner to cover the damages resulting from the attack.This includes pain and suffering that often are left from the bite. Scars are permanent and the compensation owed to equate this damage can be substantial. Most dog bite claims are covered by the owners Homeowner’s or Renters Policy.

Kentucky Dog Bite Law

Kentucky is one of several “strict liability” states when it comes to dog bites. This means that the dog’s owner is liable if the dog causes an injury. This is true even if the dog had never previously demonstrated violent or aggressive tendencies, and even if the owner used “reasonable care” to restrain or control the dog, or prevent the bite from occurring.

This law also means that you are not required to show that the dog owner was negligent in their care. The purpose of strict liability laws is to ensure that dog owners are responsible for any damages the dog causes. Kentucky law does allow for comparative fault in the event the person bitten (or others) was also at fault for allowing or causing the injury.

McCoy & Sparks Is Here to Advocate For Your Family

When you are concerned about the health and wellbeing of your child, everything else fades into the background, especially if their injuries are extensive or disfiguring, or they are compounded by infection or other complications.

At McCoy & Sparks, we will employ our extensive knowledge and medical resources to ensure that your child gets the support they need for you to handle their medical bills now, and to manage any other damages or long-term needs your child has as a result of their dog bite injury.

We’ll work closely with you to learn the details of your child’s situation and determine the course of action that is best for your entire family. Please contact us today, and we’ll get your family started on the path to recovery. You can request a free case evaluation or call us at 1-844-4KY-WINS.

Trust McCoy & Sparks—Premier Personal Injury Attorneys in Nelson County

Recognized as Nelson County’s best law firm for over a decade and counting, McCoy & Sparks works to help people in trouble, representing thousands of clients in Central Kentucky with a focus on providing premium service and delivering superior results.

Regardless of the type of case, our goal is to develop a strategy that best serves your personal needs, then draws upon our courtroom skills to help you reach the best possible result. We start by getting to know you. Next, we will explain all your options, giving you the pros and cons of each choice so that you will be empowered to make informed decisions.

You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you. Make the right call to (844) 4KY-WINS for a risk-free consultation with one of our attorneys today.