December 1987

Human Bites in ChildrenA Six-Year Experience

Author Affiliations

From The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (Dr Baker and Ms Moore), and the Department of Pediatrics, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore (Dr Baker). Dr Baker is now with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(12):1285-1290. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460120047032

• Three hundred twenty-two human bites in children, occurring during a six-year period, were reviewed. The majority occurred during warm-weather months between 2 pm and 11 pm. The upper extremities (42%), face and neck (33%), and trunk (22%) were most commonly bitten. At the time of injury, children were most often engaged in fights (61%) or play (26%). Seventy-five percent of wounds were superficial abrasions, 13% were punctures, and 11% were lacerations. None of the 242 abrasions became infected as opposed to 38% of the punctures and 37% of the lacerations. Other factors associated with increased risk of infection were delay in initial physician assessment beyond 18 hours after injury, location of the bite on the upper extremities, and occurrence of injury during sports activities. Prophylactic use of penicillin was probably not effective in reducing infection rates in these children; however, prospective data are needed to properly address this issue.

(AJDC 1987;141:1285-1290)