Conflict of interest: None declared.
Retrospective review of dog bite injuries in children presenting to a South Australian tertiary children's hospital emergency department
Article first published online: 7 JUL 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2014 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 50, Issue 10, pages 791–794, October 2014
How to Cite
Chiam, S. C., Solanki, N. S., Lodge, M., Higgins, M. and Sparnon, A. L. (2014), Retrospective review of dog bite injuries in children presenting to a South Australian tertiary children's hospital emergency department. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 50: 791–794. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12642
- Issue published online: 6 OCT 2014
- Article first published online: 7 JUL 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 APR 2014
- dog bite;
- emergency medicine;
- general paediatrics
To describe the characteristics, circumstances and consequences of dog bite injuries in children in order to inform the discourse concerning preventative approaches.
A retrospective review of children presenting to the emergency department (ED) of the Women's and Children's Hospital (WCH) in South Australia between the years 2009 and 2011 was performed.
A total of 277 children presented to the WCH with dog bite injuries between 2009 and 2011. Of those, 141(51.0%) were referred for admission. Injury rates were highest in those aged 0–4, declining thereafter with age. In the 0–4 year age group, 89.5% of children presented after being bitten by a familiar dog with 92.5% occurring at home. The head/neck region constituted the most common location for injuries. We found that 67.5% of dog bite injuries were provoked and occurred between the child and a familiar dog (78.0%). Dogs from the bull terrier group (20.0%) and Jack Russell Terriers (11.0%) were the two most documented breeds. Almost half of the children presenting during the specified timeframe required at least one operation under a general anaesthetic. Two children were referred to a psychologist for management of post-traumatic stress.
Dog bite injuries are common in children and often require admission for inpatient care. This presents as a significant public health burden. For this reason, prevention initiatives need to be implemented on an ongoing basis.