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4 reasons to call the doctor after a dog bites your child

Even minor dog bites can be frightening when they happen to your child. You may be able to tell it just needs a bandage, but that doesn't help the panic you're feeling. Should you go to the doctor? How do you know if it's bad enough?

Below are four signs that a trip to the hospital is warranted:

  1. You try to stop the bleeding by putting pressure on the wound. After 10 minutes, the bleeding has not stopped. You're concerned you won't be able to stop it on your own.
  2. The child was bitten on the face. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is incredibly common with young kids. For those under four years old, a full 66 percent of bites are to the neck or the head.
  3. It's a deep wound. You're worried that it may get infected or that it won't completely heal without aid.
  4. You didn't see the bite happen and you have no idea what dog did it, or you did see the dog but you don't know the animal or the owners. In questionable cases, a rabies test or shot may be needed. This is different than being bitten by a family pet or a neighbor's dog.

Please note that these are not the only reasons to go to the doctor, just four warning signs. It may be in your best interests to go no matter what.

Kids are especially at risk, due to their height limitations and the fact that some children don't know how to act around dogs. If your child is bitten by someone else's dog, make sure you know what legal options you have. You may deserve financial compensation for your medical bills.

Source: What to Expect, "Treating Dog Bites in Children," Heidi Murkoff, accessed Dec. 15, 2017

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