BUFFALO, N.Y. – Doctors, pediatricians and veterinarians across the country are aiming to curb the number of children hospitalized as a result of dog bites and they’re using numbers to promote their cause.
A new study conducted by Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. found more than 50 percent of dog bite injuries treated at Phoenix Children’s Hospital came from dogs belonging to an immediate family member.
“The biggest warning from this study is that familiarity with a dog may confer a false sense of safety,” said Ramin Jamshidi in a statement. Jamshidi (MD) is a senior author on the study and a pediatric surgeon at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Medical Director of Pediatric Trauma at Maricopa Medical Center.
The study analyzed over 650 dog bite incidents; 282 of which required evaluation by a trauma or ambulance team. The most common dog to attack children were pit bulls; causing lacerations (often to the face), fractures and severe neck and genital trauma.
Researchers found both girls and boys were equally affected and the most common age for a dog bite victim was 5 years-old but children as young as two months and as old as 17 years were also hospitalized within a six year time frame.
Buffalo dog bite attorneys said these findings can serve as a warning to all parents that children are not necessarily safe around any dog.
“It is very important to supervise children around any animal in Buffalo,” dog bite attorney Steve Barnes said. “Just because an adult is familiar with a pet doesn’t mean it won’t attack a child; in fact, this study shows familiar dogs attack just as often.”
When there is a family dog in the home, the Injury Prevention Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital recommends families follow some of the below tips:
- Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog, including the family dog
- Make sure all dogs in the home are neutered or spayed
- Take time to train and socialize your dogs
- Keep dogs mentally stimulated by walking and exercising them
- Teach children appropriate ways to interact with animals
Doctors and pediatricians hope the study will help develop national dog bite prevention and education campaigns with the goal of decreasing the incidence of pediatric dog bites.