Why Do Dog Bite Injuries Increase in The Spring?

It’s a given among staff working in emergency rooms and healthcare clinics: with warmer weather comes a significant increase in the number of dog bite injuries that they see and treat. But the existing problem came into sharper focus recently when researchers from Nemours Children’s Health in Wilmington Delaware published a study noting that children represent a significant portion of those who are being bitten.

The reason behind the warm weather uptick is fairly obvious: people head outside as soon as it becomes more enjoyable, and if they have dogs, they bring them with them.  And though the pandemic years were not included in the statistics published within the Nemours’ study, it is also broadly understood that during the years when people were shut inside, many added a dog to their household. This means more dogs … and many of them are unfamiliar with people outside of their families.

The Nemours researchers analyzed the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System’s records for the ten-year period between 2010 and 2020. Of the more than 152 million patients who were seen in emergency departments during that decade, roughly one-third were children, and of them .08% were brought in for treatment of injuries from dog bites. This statistic obviously only represents those patients who sought care in emergency rooms: many may have gone to pediatricians or family doctors for care, and even more likely self-treated.

While many assume that stray dogs or dogs who are strangers represent the greatest risk to children, this is not necessarily the case. Family dogs who are territorial or who are protective of their food or of a specific family member can snap, and the same is true if they are accidentally injured by somebody stepping on them or waking them suddenly. Where toddlers who are low – and even crawling on the ground – are at the greatest risk for facial injuries, older kids are more likely to be bitten on their legs, arms, or hands because they can run away or try to fend off an attack.

If you, your child, or someone else close to you has suffered a serious dog bite, you are likely facing significant medical costs, as well as the resulting trauma, pain, and fear that often follows a dog bite incident. Dog bite victims have the right to recover compensation for their out-of-pocket costs, and if a dog has a record of previous attacks you may be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering. For information on the best approach for your situation, contact us today.