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Why do young children get bitten in the face more frequently?

It is true that young children are more likely to be bitten within their own homes by a familiar dog and tend to suffer more bite injuries to the head and neck. This is irrespective of the size or breed of the dog inflicting the bite.

Research has shown that young children explore new objects (especially those that move) with their face. Children also get most clues about the dog’s mood from its facial expression rather than body posture (hence the body shape of the Blue Dog) and so it seems reasonable that they are drawn towards the dog’s face during their exploration. Recent studies have indicated that young children can misinterpret a snarling dog as if it were smiling. All these factors probably contribute to the higher incidence of facial bites in young children.

A smaller proportion of bites occur in public places by an unfamiliar dog. Injuries to the limbs are more common in this case and older children are more commonly affected.

Find out more about the research projects mentioned above as well as many more in the Research / Abstracts section of the website.

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What is the most common age of children who get bitten?

Statistics indicate that the majority of bites (approx 75%) occur in children within their own home by a dog that is familiar to them. Within this group, the commonest age range of the child is 3 – 7 years of age (mean 5yo).
A smaller proportion of bites occur in public places by an unfamiliar dog. Injuries to the limbs are more common in this case and the children tend to be older (mean 10yo).

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