Dog Bites to Children May Cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The journal Contemporary Pediatrics recently published a story about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in children as a result of being bitten by dogs.

PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that develops following one’s exposure to a traumatic event.  PTSD symptoms include re-experiencing the traumatic event many times well after the event, nightmares, sleep problems, avoidance of stimuli that may recall the trauma, and impair one’s ability to cope to other stressful situations.

There are more than 4 million reported dog bites and attacks each year.  Most of these (around 70-80%) involve small children.

Although the physical pain and symptoms following a vicious dog attack may fade, the child may experience ongoing fear and emotional damage for a life time.

Research Backs Up Claims of PTSD in Children

Research shows that PTSD occurs in a high percentage of young children attacked by dogs.  The symptoms of PTSD can easily impede the expected social, academic, and emotional growth of a child.  The symptoms can occur at any time, and may increase when the child is around other dogs or animals.

The emergency room or the child’s pediatrician should take appropriate steps to recognize the potential for PTSD after a child has been injured by a dog.  Appropriate support and therapies should also be discussed.

If a legal claim will be pursued on behalf of the child, it’s important to engage an experienced attorney quickly.  The experienced dog bite attorney can immediately begin to investigate and gather evidence to support the claim if necessary.

Sometimes the experienced dog bite attorney will also want to hire an expert to assess the existence of PTSD in the child, and to recommend viable treatment options for this disorder.

Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.
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