If your child is bitten or scratched by an animal, the wound can get infected. Clean the wound right away and get medical help as soon as possible.

Even if the animal is your family pet, you should follow these steps:

1. Wash the wound well with soap and water.
2. Put pressure on the area to stop the bleeding.
3. When bleeding stops, put an antibiotic cream such as Neosporin on the wound.
4. Cover the bite or scratch with a clean bandage.
5. Get medical help the same day if possible.
Human bites should receive the same first aid and prompt medical attention as an animal bite.
Your child will be given a tetanus vaccine if he or she has not had one in the past 5 years.
Follow the treatment your child’s doctor orders. Each day, until the wound heals, remove the bandage and check the wound. Clean the wound with soap and water each day and put on a clean bandage until the wound heals.

Call your child’s doctor if:

  • The wound is red, swollen, warm to the touch, or more painful.
  • There is more drainage or a bad odor from the wound.
  • Your child has a fever over 101 degrees F by mouth.

What to do about the animal:

Call your doctor right away if you do not know the owner of the animal that bit your child. The animal may have rabies. If the animal was tame, try to find its owner. Find out if the animal has had shots for rabies, and the date the shots were done. If possible, put the animal in a fenced area away
from people and other animals for 10 days. Watch for any changes in behavior.
Do not try to cage a vicious or wild animal. Call the police or animal control department.
A child who has been bitten by a bat or has slept in a room with one must see a doctor.

Safety Around Animals

Teach your child to be safe around animals. Here are some safety tips to teach your child:

  • Never bother an animal when it is eating.
  • Do not pull on your pet’s ears or tail.
  • Pick up your pets slowly.
  • Wash your hands after petting an animal.
  • Do not feed wild animals or animals you do not know.
  • Young children should not put their hands in an animal’s tank or cage.
  • Tell an adult if you are bitten by an animal.
  • Keep pets on a leash.

If a dog is threatening:

  • Never scream and run.
  • Stand very still with hands at your sides. Avoid eye contact with the dog. When the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until he is out of sight.
  • If the dog does attack, place your jacket, book bag, or anything you can between you and the dog.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and do not move. Try not to scream or roll around.
  • Always walk away if a dog is growling or begins to growl when approached. Never run!



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