If your child regularly interacts with dogs, you must understand bite risk. After all, children are the victims in more than half of the roughly 800,000 dog bites that occur every year. Even worse, while approximately 12% of adult bite victims require hospitalization, 26% of children do.

Healing can take time, but there are more effects than the direct injury. Following a dog attack, your child may be in for a lifetime of bite-related consequences.

Infection

Anytime an injury breaks the skin, you must watch for signs of infection. With dog bites in particular, infection is a common occurrence. Because dogs have potentially dangerous bacteria in their saliva, your child may develop swelling, soreness or discharge at the wound site.

Regrettably, while antibiotics are often effective at treating such infections, they do not always work. It is important to seek medical attention immediately after any animal attack that draws blood.

Scarring

A dog’s sharp incisors can quickly tear through human skin. As the skin heals, scarring may develop, presenting a couple of complications. First, not only may scar tissue be painful, but it may also be prone to additional injury. Likewise, if scarring is unsightly, your child may develop body-image issues. Though surgery may reduce scarring, some scars are permanent.

Psychological trauma

Bite victims often report feeling anxiety around animals. Consequently, your child may have trouble participating in everyday activities. The psychological trauma of a dog bite may not stop there, however. On the contrary, your son or daughter may develop a serious mental health condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. While therapy may help, your child may never get over the psychological trauma from the attack.

Because it can be difficult to predict the aftermath of a dog bite, you must work diligently to identify all harm the attack may have caused. Thinking about the future hardships your child may face better equips you to seek appropriate solutions and compensation.