Dog bites can happen fast. One minute your child is with a friendly dog, and the next the animal has done serious damage. It may seem impossible to perfectly handle the ensuing situation, but the closer you get to the right moves could make a big difference in how the situation turns out.
Almost 340,000 Americans rush to the emergency room for dog bites every year, and over 40% of those are children. An animal attack can be a terrifying event, but acting accordingly after it happens can make all the difference in your family’s recovery.
The first step is to make sure your child is safe. Remove them from harm’s way if necessary, and begin to assess the situation:
- Medical care: Dog bites can turn nasty fast, but even smaller injuries can develop issues. Infections, muscle damage and broken bones could be hiding under the surface. You should clear away anything near the wound and wash it out as best you can, then seek professional medical help when possible.
- Documentation: You’ll need to know who owns the dog. A name, address and the dog’s registration information can all be crucial. You should also try to get the contact information of anyone nearby who witnessed the event and take pictures for evidence.
- Animal control: It’s important to file an official report. This can help the agency stop future attacks, make a paper trail for your claim and could shine some light on the history of the dog and owner.
Knowing where to turn after an attack may not be easy, especially when emotions are running high. Protecting your family immediately following the incident should come first, followed closely by actions to protect them into the future.