Young children are the most frequent victims of dog bites. According to some older data from the CDC:
- The injury rate for dog bites is the highest between the ages of 5-9.
- Boys are even more likely to get injured than girls.
- Just under half of the dog bites in the country that required medical treatment were in children aged 14 and under.
- When children under the age of four are injured, they are most often bitten in the head and neck area.
Studies have found that the most dangerous breed of dog for children is the pit bull. While there are laws in parts of Illinois that restrict pit bull ownership, they are legal in Chicago, as the city has never enacted any legislation that restricts owning certain breeds of dogs.
One recent study showed that 36% of child dog bite injuries were caused by pit bulls.
Dog bites in the head and neck area are usually more severe than those on the arms or legs, and children’s’ heads and necks are more accessible to dogs than those of adults. Not surprisingly, then, small children tend to be more severely injured in dog attacks than adults.
Dog Owners Can Be Legally Responsible
Under Illinois law, dog owners are liable for injuries caused by their dogs when they attack people who are lawfully on public or private property without provocation, and this rule extends to children.
As a result, if your child was bitten by a dog while outside, at a playground, or visiting friends or neighbors, he or she may be entitled to compensation for his or her injuries.
Reasons Why Dogs Often Attack Children
Children are more likely to suffer a serious injury from a dog bite. They are not able to fight off the dog or do anything else to escape the harm.
Moreover, children are not able to accurately evaluate a dog’s body language in order to make a decision about when not to approach the animal.
Instead, they tend to look at a dog’s face, which does not always show the animal’s intentions. Adults are more likely to use common sense when it comes to handling or being near a dog.
Other reasons why dogs attack children more often include:
- Dogs are territorial animals, and they frequently think that small children are invading their territory.
- Pets may be spooked by the noise and sudden movements that small children make. Biting is often a way that dogs express displeasure with the manner that people are using to interact with them.
- Dogs often bite children when they are guarding their food or toys, things that adults may know to not approach.
- Children can approach dogs in an excitable way, mimicking behavior that other dogs may show, and dogs bite other dogs.
Even though small children seem harmless, that is not necessarily how they appear to the dog. They can be naturally anxious creatures with their own fears and triggers. However, dog owners assume this risk when they choose to buy a pet.
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney in Chicago Today
When your child has been injured by a dog, you should speak to a Chicago dog bite attorney as soon as you can. In many cases, children who have been bitten by dogs are entitled to compensation for their attack-related losses.
Contact the Chicago Legal Group at 847-305-4105 for your free initial consultation.
While you’re here, download our FREE Top 7 Illinois Dog Bite Law Tips PDF document today.