MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Cinnamon A. Dixon, DO, MPH
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Children’s Hospital Colorado
Senior Investigator | Center for Global Health
Colorado School of Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this commentary?
Dog bites are a long-standing public health problem. Each year there are approximately 4.5 million dog bites across the Unites States (US),1
and global estimates suggest tens of millions of these injuries worldwide.2
Children are the most vulnerable population with nearly 1 million annual dog bites in the US and more severe injury outcomes.1
National organizations espouse consistent strategies on how to prevent dog bites to children, however studies reveal that most children have never received dog bite prevention education.3,4
Furthermore, children lack critical knowledge of how to prevent dog bites in high-risk “resource guarding” situations (such as when a dog is eating or chewing on toys).4
During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of US households are experiencing restrictions in activities. Children now spend more time in the home environment and presumably have increased exposure to their pet dogs. Parents and caregivers likely experience greater stress with more potential for competing interests and resultant decreased supervision of their children and dogs. Finally, pet dogs may be affected by the increased tension of their environment and be more likely to mirror the emotions of their human caregivers.
We hypothesized that these combined elements compound the risk of dog bites to children during the COVID-19 pandemic. (more…)