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What should you do if a dog bites your child?

While most dogs in Washington are friendly and make good pets, there are still circumstances that may lead them to bite. In many cases, the victim of a dog bite is a child. Responding correctly if a dog bites your child may help you reduce the risk of further injury or infection. The first thing to do is move yourself and your child to a safe location away from the dog. Once you are there, you may start providing first aid to your child.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are several important steps you should take immediately after a dog bites your child. Once you are in a safe place, you should check your child's body for wounds. If there are any deep puncture wounds or cuts, you may need to go to the emergency room. For small minor wounds, you may clean and bandage them yourself before seeking medical attention. Gently press on any wounds to encourage a little bleeding. This may help remove some of the bacteria. Then, use mild soap and warm water to wash out the wounds.

If bleeding continues, use a clean cloth or bandage to cover the wound and slow the flow of blood. Once the bleeding stops, you may apply a topical antibiotic cream or lotion and then bandage the wound using sterile first aid supplies. It is a good idea to make an appointment for your child to see a doctor as soon as possible. A medical professional may apply stitches, prescribe antibiotics and administer a tetanus booster shot if necessary. He or she may also help you learn what signs of infection to watch for. You may need to contact your county's animal control office to make a report of the incident.

This is educational information about dog bites is not intended to provide legal advice.

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