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Pediatric dog bites: a population-based profile


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

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