216297 What you know might hurt you: A prospective study of behavioral correlates of dog bites to children presented to an urban trauma center

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ilana Reisner, DVM, PhD , Department of Clinical Studies - Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Michael L. Nance, MD , Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Jason S. Zeller, BS , Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Eileen M. Houseknecht, RN, BSN , Trauma Research Coordinator, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD , Center for Injury Research and Prevention, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Douglas J. Wiebe, PhD , Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Background/Purpose Children are the most frequent targets of reported dog bites. Examination of the social, behavioral and environmental correlates of dog bites can help identify risks that are currently unrecognized in conventionally reported epidemiological studies. Methods Subjects were children < 17 years presenting over a 2-year period to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia emergency department (ED) with dog bite injuries. Information was collected prospectively regarding the child, the biting dog, and the environmental, behavioral and social circumstances of the incident. Children 7-17 years old were interviewed directly; parents were interviewed for children <7 years old. Data were summarized using frequencies and percents for categorical data and means and ranges for continuous data. Chi-square or Fisher's exact tests were performed to examine differences in bite circumstances by gender, age, and other variables. Results/Outcomes 203 families participated. 83% of children were discharged after treatment; 17% were admitted as inpatients. 51% were < 7 years old, 49% were 7-17 years old. 55% were male. Almost half the children were bitten on the face (N=99; 49.5%). In 72% of cases, the child and dog were familiar to each other, and children bitten in the face were most likely to be bitten in an indoor setting, by familiar dogs. Children bitten outdoors were more likely to be bitten by unfamiliar dogs. Additional data will be presented.

Conclusions Bites by dogs that are either familiar or unfamiliar to the child represent two distinct settings with different risks, an indication for development of different preventive strategies.

Learning Objectives:
(1) Identify behavioral and circumstantial factors associated with dog bites to children (2) Differentiate circumstances of bites to children by familiar dogs from bites by unfamiliar dogs

Keywords: Behavioral Research, Animals and Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Contributed to analysis and interpretation of data, and preparation of manuscript. PhD in biostatistics and epidemiology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.