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February 1958

Mammalian Bites of Children: A Problem in Accident Prevention

Author Affiliations

Jacksonville, Fla.
From the Department of Pediatrics, St. Vincent's Hospital.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1958;95(2):150-156. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1958.02060050152007

The pet population has been increasing rapidly, and in 1956 there were probably 25,000,000 dogs and 35,000,000 cats in this country.1 Rabbits, squirrels, hamsters, and rats are also kept in great numbers by children. As pets around the home, only ponies and horses have decreased in number in recent years. The biting of children by pets is a common, although rarely fatal, accident. My associates and I submitted a questionnaire to 300 parents of 617 children coming under our observation for routine pediatric care. Among the 531 children in this survey who were over one year of age, 15.4% had, at some time, been bitten by a mammal, 2.1% of them more than once. Many of the bites were not considered severe enough to be reported to a physician.

The mammalian bites sustained by children in our pediatric practice, and reported to us, were investigated in detail over a

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