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Factors Associated With Bites to a Child From a Dog Living in the Same Home: A Bi-National Comparison.

  • Author(s): Messam, Locksley L McV
  • Kass, Philip H
  • Chomel, Bruno B
  • Hart, Lynette A
  • et al.

We conducted a veterinary clinic-based retrospective cohort study aimed at identifying child-, dog-, and home-environment factors associated with dog bites to children aged 5-15 years old living in the same home as a dog in Kingston, Jamaica (236) and San Francisco, USA (61). Secondarily, we wished to compare these factors to risk factors for dog bites to the general public. Participant information was collected via interviewer-administered questionnaire using proxy respondents. Data were analyzed using log-binomial regression to estimate relative risks and associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for each exposure-dog bite relationship. Exploiting the correspondence between X% confidence intervals and X% Bayesian probability intervals obtained using a uniform prior distribution, for each exposure, we calculated probabilities of the true (population) RRs ≥ 1.25 or ≤0.8, for positive or negative associations, respectively. Boys and younger children were at higher risk for bites, than girls and older children, respectively. Dogs living in a home with no yard space were at an elevated risk (RR = 2.97; 95% CI: 1.06-8.33) of biting a child living in the same home, compared to dogs that had yard space. Dogs routinely allowed inside for some portion of the day (RR = 3.00; 95% CI: 0.94-9.62) and dogs routinely allowed to sleep in a family member's bedroom (RR = 2.82; 95% CI: 1.17-6.81) were also more likely to bite a child living in the home than those that were not. In San Francisco, but less so in Kingston, bites were inversely associated with the number of children in the home. While in Kingston, but not in San Francisco, smaller breeds and dogs obtained for companionship were at higher risk for biting than larger breeds and dogs obtained for protection, respectively. Overall, for most exposures, the observed associations were consistent with population RRs of practical importance (i.e., RRs ≥ 1.25 or ≤0.8). Finally, we found substantial consistency between risk factors for bites to children and previously reported risk factors for general bites.

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