Protecting children from dog bite injury requires vigilance on the part of parents, guardians, and dog owners. Illinois law holds dog owners responsible for the injuries caused by unprovoked dog bites. When the victims are children, the injuries can be significant. A personal injury lawyer can help families receive fair compensation for dog bite injuries suffered by their children.
Children are at Highest Risk
4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States each year. Eight hundred thousand of those victims require medical attention. More than half of those are children.
Children are in proximity to dogs more often than adults and may play more aggressively with dogs. They may be perceived by the dog as weaker and easier to attack. Because of their size, dog bite injuries to children tend to be more severe than in adults. Some can be fatal.
Protecting Children from Dog Bites
Many dog bites can be prevented by following a few guidelines. Adults should:
- Never leave children alone and unsupervised with a dog
- Teach children not to approach a strange dog
- Teach children not to provoke or tease any dog
- Never allow them to molest a dog that is eating or sleeping
- Never let kids pet dogs who are behind a fence or in a car and who may protect their territory with a bite
- Make sure children understand and respect natural dog behavior
When a Bite Occurs
Despite efforts to protect children, dog bites still occur. When they do, caregivers should provide first aid to the child by immediately cleaning and washing the wound. They should seek medical attention for serious injuries, or anytime there is doubt about the severity of an injury. Dog bites can result in staph infections, tetanus and in some cases, rabies.
Under Illinois law, the bite had to occur without provocation by the victim for the owner to be held liable. Caregivers and witnesses should document what the dog and child were doing when the bite occurred.
Holding Owners Liable Protects Children
The Illinois dog bite statutes are in place to protect the public. Victims of dog bites are entitled to compensation for medical treatment, emotional trauma and disability resulting from the injury. Contacting a Chicago personal injury lawyer can help recover damages for the injury and protect other children from being bitten in the future.