Child Psychological Trauma To Dog Bite Victims
The majority of dog bite victims are children under the age of fifteen. Statistics have shown that over 28% are 4 years or younger and 32% are between the ages of 5 and 10. Unfortunately, children under the age of 4 are at greater risk of being bitten on the head, face or neck because the attacking dog is often larger than the victim.
To some small children the dog bite is of such trauma, that it affects their psychic functioning and later personality development, especially a severe dog bite to the face. Some children do not “get over” or “grow out” of such a traumatic event.
Small children can suffer the following:
- A. Increased dependency on parents
- B. Fear
- C. Night terrors
As a result, it is difficult to evaluate a dog bite case involving a small child because of the uncertainty of the psychological injury and long term effects. Such children can also develop personalities which are over-cautious, restrictive thoughts, lesser physical actions and the difficulty to experience happiness.
For these reasons, when we have a small child who has suffered a serious dog bite we are very sensitive to placing that child under the care and attention of a qualified child psychologist who specializes in such trauma. We train our staff to look for that and discuss that with the parents.
Remember, the effect of a dog bite can be long-lasting, especially when the victim is a child. Therefore, it is important to seek prompt treatment and continued treatment, until the child is healed physically and psychologically.
- The most recent USA survey of dog bites conducted by CDC researchers concluded that in 2001, 2002 and 2003 there were 4.5 million American dog bite victims per year (1.5% of the entire population).
- There was a 10% increase in emergency room visits for new dog bites from 1992 to 2001.
- California had the highest number of dog bites with 451 claims. (2012)
- Children under the age of one year accounted for the highest number of dog bite fatalities, at 19%. Over 95% of these deaths occurred when an infant was left unsupervised!
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, please contact us.