Safety experts continuously remind parents to watch their children when they are around dogs. Even the family dog cannot be trusted entirely to act predictably around your children. As much as parents may hate to think about it, dogs, even sweet and cuddly puppies, can and will bite children under the right circumstances. If your child has a dog bite them, it is crucial that you act quickly. Knowing what steps to take can help your child recover from the bite and bring attention to the dog’s behavior.
1. Clean Out the Bite Immediately
If your child has been bitten by a dog, whether it is your family dog or a stray, you should first clean out the wound immediately. Cleaning out the bite with warm water and a mild soap can remove some of the harmful agents from the wound. Food particles, dirt, hair, and some bacteria can be flushed out the child’s skin and leave the wound with cleaner edges in case the bite needs to be stitched. You should avoid putting rubbing alcohol or peroxide on it, but rather clean it out with soap and water.
2. Take Your Child to the E.R.
Even if the dog that bit your child belonged to you or a beloved family member or friend, it is crucial that you take your child to the emergency room. You may think that you have cleaned out all of the debris; however, your best attempts to clean the bite pale in comparison to the cleaning and inspection provided by doctors at your local E.R. At the emergency room, your child can be given antibiotics that will keep away infection. He or she may also have blood drawn to test for rabies if your child was bitten by a stray or unknown dog.
3. Be Honest with Law Enforcement
The doctor at the E.R. has the legal obligation to report the bite to the police. The police must know about the animal bite in order to keep the public safe. While you are at the hospital, the police may arrive to question you about your child’s wound. You may be tempted to lie or gloss over the situation to make yourself look better or to protect your family member or friend from being fined for the dog’s aggressiveness.
However, it is vital that you are honest with the police. You could incur a fine or more severe penalty yourself for lying; even more, if the animal truly is sick or becoming vicious, the police have the obligation to remove it from the house and have it tested for rabies or some other illness. Lying to the police only prolongs the protection your child and other kids in your neighborhood deserve.
4. Contact an Attorney
You may not be responsible for paying for your child’s medical expenses if the dog that bit him or her belonged to someone else. If the dog was not properly leashed or restrained, the owner may owe you reimbursement for your child’s doctor bills. Rather than confront the owner, however, you can handle the matter better by seeking the legal assistance of a local experienced dog bit accident lawyer.
For example, retaining the services of an Atlanta dog bite accident lawyer for a child who was attacked in that geographic area due to the fact they would be up to date and knowledgeable about the local and state laws pertinent to a dog bite claim there. Your lawyer can determine the appropriate action to take that can help you and your child recover from this experience better.
Children and dogs make for a precarious situation if they are unsupervised. Even if they are watched, however, your child could still be bitten by a dog. Knowing what to do after your child is bitten is vital in protecting his or her health and safety, as well as your family’s legal and financial wellness during this event.
As a mother to 4, Lisa Coleman understands the importance of being up-to-date on first aid procedures, and shares what that is when handling a dog bite.