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Part III: What do I do if my child is bitten by a dog?

The worst has happened. Despite your best efforts to teach your child how to be safe around animals, he or she has suffered a dog bite. As a parent, the emotions in that moment may be difficult to handle and you may feel overwhelmed when you try to decide what to do next.

Therefore, it's a good idea to take a moment to familiarize yourself with how to respond to a dog bite, whether it results in a surface wound or a more severe laceration.

For a very minor bite that hardly causes damage to the skin, you may be able to treat the wound at home. Be sure to wash the cut with soap and water after the child is bitten. The Mayo Clinic recommends applying an antibiotic ointment to the wound, to help avoid an infection. In addition, you should put a bandage on the wound for the same reason.

In many situations, however, you should seek prompt medical attention after a child is bitten by a dog. For instance, you should see a doctor or go to the emergency room immediately if:

  • The wound is severe
  • The wound appears infected
  • You believe the dog may have rabies or you are uncertain about whether its vaccinations are up to date
  • The wound is to the extremities, face or head or affects joints, tendons or ligaments

In the unlikely event that the dog has rabies, you will also want to report the information to an animal control agency and the local department of health.

In addition, if your child has not received a tetanus shot for five years or more, it may be necessary to get a booster shot.

You will want to gather contact information from the dog's owner after your child is bitten. You will also want to obtain information regarding the dog's vaccination history, to make certain its rabies vaccines are up to date.

Worried about getting medical care for your child? Call our law office.

If your child has been bitten by a dog, but you are worried about how you will pay for a doctor, call our attorneys.

Even if you don't have medical insurance for your child, we can make sure he or she sees a doctor and receives the care needed. Call our law office as soon as possible after the injury. You don't want the wound to get infected. In addition, you want a doctor to be able to document the injuries your child suffered.

Don't wait to call us because you are worried about the medical bills. The doctor who treats your child won't ask for any payment until we settle your case. If your case doesn't settle, you won't be asked to pay.

Has your child been bitten by a dog? Tell us your story. We are here to help.

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