Dog bites are serious injuries that can leave both physical and psychological marks on a child. In fact, children are more likely to be the victim of a dog bite because they can’t recognize a dog’s body language as well as adults can.

Statistics show that dog bite injuries are the second most common type of injury that emergency rooms see among children. You should be aware of what you can do for your child if they suffer from a dog bite injury.

1. Visit a doctor

As the statistic above suggests, your child may need careful medical attention after getting bitten by a dog. While you may be able to provide simple first-aid at home, there are potential problems that doctors need to assess in a hospital or emergency room. Without proper medical attention, dog bites can lead to:

  • Infection
  • Disease such as rabies
  • Scarring
  • Disfiguration

Your child might need anything from antibiotics to surgery. Doctors can provide your child with the care they need to heal — both physically and emotionally — from a dog attack.

2. Report the attack

Reporting the dog who attacked your child can help prevent other children — and adults — from an attack by the same dog. You can contact your local animal control or police department to report the attack. You should also contact the dog owner if you are able, so you can ask whether the dog has a rabies vaccination.

3. File a claim

If your child suffers extensive injuries that result in costly medical bills, you can file a lawsuit against the owner of the dog that injured your child. Under Massachusetts law, the dog owner is liable for any damage that their dog caused. Additionally, if your child is under the age of seven, the state will assume that they did not provoke the attack.

A dog attack can happen unexpectedly. A personal injury attorney can help you receive compensation for the medical care your child may need after a dog bite injury.