Dog bite victims are most commonly young children, because they are unable to defend themselves effectively against larger dogs. Injuries sustained by children can vary, from minor cuts and scratches to more severe injuries that can require surgeries and sometimes may even lead to death.

Some examples of severe dog attack injuries
If a , the injuries can be so severe that extensive surgery is needed to correct the problem. In July 2012, an 8-year-old boy from Gladstone, Oregon needed surgery after being bitten by a dog in the calf. In November 2012, a young toddler aged 2 was bitten by a pit bull and three surgeries were required to help her recover from the bites. A ten year old was bitten so viciously by her own dog that doctors had to cut off her foot and a lower portion of her leg.

These are but a few examples of the substantial injuries children suffer due to dog bites. Many of the bites that children sustain are not minor, and due to the aggressive nature of the dogs, are injuries that require extensive surgery. The main areas that are attacked are the face and the lower portion of the body, beneath the waist. With younger children, the risk of infection is great, and if surgery is needed, it must be done so immediately to minimize the risk of scars.

A long recovery process
The surgery itself can be a traumatic experience for a child. The recovery process can be long and arduous and the child may need to stay in the hospital during this time. The child’s entire life is disrupted due to the effects of the dog bite.

Some injuries may require multiple surgeries, and when the injury occurs in the face, these surgeries take a lot of time to heal. The time spent between surgeries can be at home or at the hospital. Depending on the child’s age, they may have to miss a lot of school, and miss time with friends and family. Parents need to be prepared for a long and tough recovery process.

How to stay safe? What parents can do?
There are many things parents can do to help prevent serious injuries from dog bites. Supervision is the key. A child must always be under a parent or guardian’s supervision. Even when a child is playing in their own backyard, supervision is needed, especially if there are any dogs in the neighborhood. Parents should also teach their children to stay away from dogs they do not know or have not interacted with before. Although even known dogs may attack children, it is more likely for a strange dog to attack a child it has never seen before.

What owners can do?
Owners are most often blamed in dog attack incidents. A dog should not be left unleashed, especially if it has a habit of biting or attacking people. An owner should be aware of their dog’s location at all times, and should be supervising the dog’s behavior. If an owner is around during an attack, the dog is more likely to listen to the owner’s commands and stop.

Dog bites can be prevented, if both parents and owners remain responsible. It is very important to uphold these responsibilities to ensure that children are kept safe from dangerous dogs. It can be a matter of life and death.

Dog bite resources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263698/Bravery-Milly-Anne-Hemley-10-`lost-foot-dog-attack.html#ixzz2MphG1Y6l
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/aug/09/dog-bite-hospital-admissions-rise
http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/169/13/341.extract