It can happen in an instant. Your child is playing at the park and a dog gets loose. Before you know it, your child has been attacked and bitten. You’re in a state of shock, not sure what to do next. It’s every parent’s nightmare that happens more frequently than you think.
In fact, more than four million people are bitten by dogs yearly, and one in five of those dog bites require medical treatment. Also, not surprisingly, children are the ones who suffer dog bites more, as they aren’t always aware of how to best interact with unfamiliar dogs.
If your child ends up being bit by a dog, your knowledge of first aid will come in handy. Here are five first aid tips for treating a dog bite:
- Control the bleeding. Use a clean washcloth, towel or even part of a T-shirt to control the bleeding until you can clean and bandage the wound properly.
- Seek medical treatment immediately if you can’t stop the bleeding or the wound is deep and will need stiches to heal.
- Clean the wound. Cleanse the bite area or scratched skin with warm water and soap.
- Apply a clean bandage to the wound.
- Apply antibiotic treatment daily to prevent infection and apply a new bandage.
If your child is seriously injured by a dog, you also will need to determine who the dog’s owner is. You’ll want to know if the dog is up on his vaccinations or when your child last received a tetanus shot. You’ll also want to file a police report or animal control report if the bite is unprovoked.
Keep all documentation of your medical bills to treat the bite. You may want to seek injury compensation from the dog’s owner if the bite is severe.