Was your child the victim of a dog bite? Learn why children are at higher risk of a dog attack and their rights to compensation for their serious injuries.

Why Children Are Common Victims of Dog Attacks

dog attacks on childrenAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year and young children between the ages of 5 to 9 years old are the most likely victims. Because of their smaller size and developing bodies, children are more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries or death if bitten by a dog. Fortunately, they may be entitled to compensation from the dog owner under Washington’s dog bite laws.

Why Is the Danger of Your Child Being Attacked by a Dog So Great?

A combination of factors increases the risk that a child rather than an adult will be the victim of a vicious dog attack. Tragically, in some cases, the attacking dog is a family pet. Here are some of the reasons children are bitten by dogs:

  • Dominance. Dogs have a pack mentality and may feel dominant or superior to a small child. This can increase the risk of a dog biting a child.
  • Signs of aggression. Young children are less educated about and able to recognize the warning signs that a dog feels threatened, such as baring the teeth and growling. As a result, they may incorrectly perceive the dog’s behavior as playing a game and not know to take steps to avoid an attack.
  • Negative behaviors. Children may engage in rough behaviors—such as pulling a dog’s tail, pulling their ears, or hugging them too tightly—and can make a dog feel threatened. Other behaviors, such as taking a dog's toy or staring at him, can be misperceived by the dog as aggressive behavior—especially dangerous if the dog is prone to respond with his own aggressive actions.

It is important to remember that regardless of why a child was bitten, he was usually not at fault in causing a dog bite. Owners have a duty to maintain control of their dogs so that they do not bite anyone and protect others if their dog is aggressive.

Tips to Prevent Your Child From Being Bitten by a Dog

While you cannot control the behavior of another person’s dog, you can teach your children to be safe around them. Some dog safety tips that your children should know include:

  • Avoid any unknown dog that is not on a leash and do not run up to a dog you do not know.
  • Ask the owner for permission before petting a dog.
  • Do not scream, run, or make sudden movements around a dog.
  • Never pull on a dog or try to ride him.
  • If approached by an unknown dog, stand still and avoid eye contact.
  • Do not take away a dog’s food or toys or bother him while he is eating or sleeping.

Obtain the Compensation Your Child Deserves for His Serious Dog Bite Injuries

Because of their smaller size, children are often bitten on the face and neck, which can cause permanent scarring and disfigurement. In addition, bites to the hands, arms, and legs are common. These bites can be much more serious than a puncture wound because a dog’s strong teeth can rip tendons, muscles, and other body parts—sometimes causing an amputation of a nose, ear, finger, arm, and more. In some cases, a dog attack can be fatal.

Your child could need surgery, physical therapy, skin grafts, and plastic surgery to lessen the permanent scarring and disfigurement caused by his injuries. He could also require psychological counseling to help him cope with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other psychological trauma caused by the attack and his injuries.

Fortunately, you may be able to hold the dog owner liable for compensating your child for his medical treatment, psychological counseling, pain and suffering, and other expenses caused by a dog attack. Our experienced dog bite attorneys are here to fight for the compensation your child deserves so that he receives the medical and psychological care he needs to cope with the aftermath of the dog attack. To learn more about your child’s legal options, call our office today to schedule a free consultation.