Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Pediatric dog bites: a population-based profile
  1. Jackson Fein1,2,
  2. David Bogumil1,2,
  3. Jeffrey S Upperman1,
  4. Rita V Burke1,2
  1. 1 Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  2. 2 Trauma Program, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rita V Burke, Trauma Program, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA; riburke{at}


Background Previous studies have identified risk factors for dog bites in children, but use data from individual trauma centers, with limited generalizability. This study identifies a population risk profile for pediatric dog bites using the National Trauma Data Bank. We hypothesized that the population at risk was younger boys, that such bites occur at home, are moderately severe, and are on the face or neck.

Methods For this retrospective cross-sectional study, a sample of 7912 children 17 years old and younger with International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 event code E906.0, for dog bites, were identified. Datasets from 2007 to 2014 were used. Data included patient’s gender, age, ICD-9 primary and location E-codes, AIS body region and AIS severity.

Results Most children were 6–12 years old and female, but a similar number fell into the narrower range of 0–2 years old. Injuries in the younger group frequently occurred at home, on the face and head, and with minor severity. Age of the child predicts the location of incident (P<0.001), the severity of injury (P<0.001) and the body region of the injury (P<0.001). Body region of the injury predicted its severity (P<0.001).

Discussion Younger children are more likely to receive dog bites, and bites incurred are likely of greater severity. Children this young cannot yet be taught how to properly interact with a dog.

Conclusions Dog bites are a significant source of morbidity for children. Based on the population risk factors profile generated, this study recommends targeting live dog education towards the parents of young children.

  • animal bites
  • child
  • risk factor research

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors JF conceived this study, analysed the data retrieved and prepared the manuscript for publication. DB assisted in data analysis and helped to prepare the manuscript for publication. JSU helped to prepare the manuscript for publication. RVB assisted in study conception, data analysis and manuscript preparation. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ IRB (CHLA-16-00401). All data used in this study originate from a database, with subjects giving consent to have their data included.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All data used by this study are publicly available for purchase via the American College of Surgeons.