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Why are children most at risk for dog bites?

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Posted on January 7, 2022

Dog bites account for millions of injuries in the United States each year, with over one dozen fatalities occurring annually. The World Health Organization notes that more than 800,000 people require medical care for dog bites annually and that nearly 20 people die in dog attacks during the course of the year.

While anyone can experience a dog attack, children are the most common victims. Understanding the reasons behind this may help parents and caregivers prevent these incidents that usually result in serious injuries.


Millions of American families own dogs, which brings children in proximity with different breed types daily. In some cases, adults leave children and dogs alone together because they believe their dog is incapable of attacking a family member. However, many dog attacks involve a family pet, especially in the case of younger children who may accidentally provoke a dog into biting. Monitoring children around any family dog can reduce the risk of an attack.


Children often get injured more seriously during a dog attack because of their size. An attacking dog can reach a child’s head and neck more easily than an adult, which usually results in grave injuries. Larger dogs may also knock smaller children to the ground with little trouble, leaving the victims more vulnerable to more serious bites.

Children who experience dog attacks may require considerable medical treatment or reconstructive surgery to repair the damage. Some may suffer mental trauma or develop post-traumatic stress disorder that may last for years afterward, so it is wise for adults to monitor children and ensure that any dog they interact with has little to no bite risk.