What Should You Do If a Dog Bites Your Child?

What Should You Do If a Dog Bites Your Child?
Calendar icon March 23, 2021

Dogs are lovely pets and great companions. They’re part of the family so if it happens that a dog bites your child, you might be taken aback. Maybe your dog is playful and calm, but this can easily happen if the dog is taken by its instincts. Millions of people end up bitten by a dog, and the number of children bitten by dogs shouldn’t be taken lightly.

So, what to do when a dog bites (especially if it bites a child).

After you take all the important steps, such as seeking medical help, make sure to call a New York personal injury attorney who has specialized in dog bite cases.

Why Do Dogs Bite?

No matter how friendly, playful, and trained a dog is, they’re a descendant of a wolf. So, their instincts may take over them, and the dog may bite. These are pack animals and when they play with kids their instincts may come to the surface. In just a split second, a dog may become a dangerous dog. 

Pack animals follow the natural pecking order and since kids are the same size as them, they might feel that they might attack them, so their instinct is to follow their property and people. It’s not uncommon for dogs to become territorial near children.

Young children often don’t know how to play gently; they don’t understand the concept of boundaries and don’t understand the aggressive cues from the dog.

How To Prevent Dog Bites?

No matter how calm and playful a dog is, you have a responsibility to teach kids that they should be careful.

You can prevent a dog from biting others if you take several preventive steps like the following:

  • Teach the children not to disturb the dog while it’s eating or drinking.
  • Tell the child to gently approach the dog.
  • If the dog starts chasing them, tell the child not to scream or run.
  • Don’t allow the child to play with the dog without your or another adult’s supervision.

First Aid

Make sure to control the bleeding (if any). Use a clean washcloth and apply gentle pressure to the wound until it stops. If there’s too much blood, elevate the injured place.

Make sure to clean the place where the dog bit the child. Wash the place with soap and water and keep the area under running water for a few minutes to rinse potential bacteria. Then pat the area dry and dab an ointment or antibiotic.

This is if the bite is minor.

In case the wound is severe, you have to take the child to the doctor. If the dog has taken a rabies shot, then you can be at peace, but if not, you have to go to the ER as soon as possible.

In case the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure, it’s time to see a doctor.

What To Do If a Dog Bites Your Child?

In this case, you’re probably too scared and have millions of questions going through your head. First, take your child to a doctor so they get suitable medical help for dog bites. Even if it’s a minor bite, the dog has bacteria in its mouth that can infect the wound.

Exchange info with the dog owner so they can call you later. In case you don’t want to involve attorneys, the owner may offer to pay for the child’s medical bills. However, you may want to file a lawsuit and it would be a smart idea if you have a lawyer by your side.

If your child was bitten by a dog in New York, the statute of limitations lasts for three years.

If you decide not to sue the dog owner right after the bite, you may realize that your child is going through traumatic experiences and that you should (among other claims) seek coverage for pain and suffering.

According to section 121 of the New York Code that covers dog bites and other dog-related injuries, the owner or custodian of a “dangerous dog” is responsible for the medical costs of any injuries the dog causes to a person.

Our team at Cellino Law is here to review your case and help you continue with the further steps.

Contact us and schedule your first consultation and we will review your case for free.

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