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Increase in Dog bites Involving Children during Pandemic

The pandemic and shelter-in-place restrictions across Georgia and the country have resulted in an increase in the number of children suffering dog bites.

A new study has found that there was an increase in the number of dog bites involving children between spring and summer this year.  The researchers involved in the study are directly attributing this increase in dog bite attacks involving children to the shelter-in-place restrictions, as well as the increased stress brought on by the pandemic.

The research was conducted by a pediatric emergency department which reported a startling increase in the number of children reporting to the emergency department with injuries suffered in dog bites during spring and summer this year.  The increase was as much as 3 times higher, compared to the same period of time last year.  The results of the study were published in the Journal of Pediatrics recently.

The increase which began in March, continued through spring and summer. According to the researchers, there typically tends to be an increase in the number of dog bites involving children during spring and summer. This is the time of the year when children are out, on break or vacation and likely to be playing with their dogs. However, the startling increase in the number of dog bite attacks this year, indicates that the pandemic may be partly to blame.

Several states, including Georgia, imposed shelter-in-place restrictions confining families to their homes as the pandemic spread across the country. This meant children spent an increased amount of time with their pets, increasing the risk of bites. The pandemic has also led to exacerbated stress levels in families, and according to the researchers, dogs are likely to pick up on these amplified household stress levels. That could possibly make them irritable or aggressive, possibly resulting in an attack.

Additionally, adult supervision of children and dogs has dropped in many households, as adults have found themselves playing the roles of teacher, entertainer, coach, and caregiver, all rolled into one. With school shutdowns, responsibilities have increased. Adults who have been working from home, have been less likely to keep an eye on their children playing with dogs.

Children are some of the most frequent victims of dog bites. They are trusting by nature, and much more likely to see dogs simply as playmates, instead of animals.  Therefore, they need supervision when they’re around dogs.

To ensure that your children are safe around your pet dogs, make sure that you have trained your children to be cautious around these animals. Teach your child never to disturb a dog that is sleeping or eating. If your neighbor has a dog, your child shouldn’t be reaching through your fence to touch the dog, or worse, walking into the neighbor’s yard without an accompanying adult. All of these are dangerous situations that could increase the risk of a dog bite attack.

The Atlanta dog bite lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons who have been injured as a result of dog bites in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.

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