Background There are 4.5 million annual dog bites in the US; >368 000 are seen in emergency departments (ED). Children ages 5–9 have the highest incidence.
Objectives To determine child dog bite prevention knowledge.
Methods Cross-sectional sample of parents and children (5–15 years), presenting to a paediatric ED. Dyads completed knowledge tests developed from Centre for Disease Control dog bite prevention recommendations. Passing score was >70%; logistic and linear regression modelled odds of passing and knowledge scores.
Results Of 300 children: mean age was 8.7 (3.1 SD), 69% were 5–9 years, and 51% were female. Of parents: 63% had income >$20 000, 57% had education >high school and 51% were white. Dog ownership was 73%; dog bite prevalence was 23%. Over 70% of parents denied child receiving dog bite prevention education; 88% desired it. Mean child knowledge score was 10 (2.5SD). Older children had higher odds of passing (OR:1.15 (95% CI 1.06 to 1.25)), as did children with white parents (OR:1.88 (95% CI 1.17 to 3.02)). Children gained 0.25 score with each year of age and had 0.97 higher scores if they had white parents (p<0.01). No associations were found between knowledge, socioeconomic status, dog ownership or prior dog bite.
Conclusion Dog bites are preventable child injuries. Results indicate >40% children fail dog bite prevention knowledge testing suggesting universal dog bite prevention education is warranted, with special consideration for populations predicted to have lower dog bite prevention knowledge.
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