Dog bites: an opportunity for parent education in the pediatric emergency department

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2012 Oct;28(10):966-70. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e31826c6c13.


Objectives: This study focuses on parental report of exposure to dogs and highlights the potential for using a computer kiosk in an urban pediatric emergency department to increase knowledge around dog bite safety.

Methods: Nine hundred one parents of young children completed a kiosk assessment and received a report that contained information aimed at increasing knowledge about either dog bite prevention (PAR-DB, n = 453) or other safety behaviors (PAR-S, n = 448). The participants who received the dog bite prevention report (PAR-DB) were asked questions about exposure to dogs as part of the baseline assessment. All participants were telephoned 2 to 4 weeks later for a follow-up interview to measure knowledge differences.

Results: The majority of respondents who answered the exposure questions reported seeing stray dogs (53%) and having dangerous dogs (43%) in their neighborhood. Few respondents reported that their child had been bitten by a dog (1%), but the majority (56%) reported having knowledge of another child having been bitten. Few respondents reported having a dog in their home (11%), and only 1 reported that her dog had bitten a child. A majority (56%) of dogs had not been spayed or neutered. Of families with dogs in the home, 20% reported leaving their child unattended with the dog. A minority (45%) of dogs left alone with children had been spayed or neutered.

Conclusions: PAR-DB parents achieved knowledge gains as a result of the Parent Action Report generated by the kiosk, demonstrating the potential to improve knowledge via a computer kiosk in a busy pediatric emergency department.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / epidemiology
  • Bites and Stings / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dogs*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Parents / education*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology