First aid for animal bites in children & babies

Understanding and managing first aid for animal bites in children and babies

Understanding handling emergencies such as animal bites is crucial for our youngest and most vulnerable. Animal bites can be distressing for the child and the caregiver, and knowing the correct first aid procedures can significantly affect the outcome. In this blog, Rose aims to provide essential information on the first aid treatment of animal bites in children and babies, reflecting current best practices and relevant regulatory standards.

Key facts and statistics

Numerous children in the UK suffer from animal bites annually, with incidents predominantly involving domestic pets. According to the National Health Service (NHS), many emergency visits for children under ten are due to bites or stings. Recognising the signs of infection and taking prompt action can prevent serious complications, underscoring the importance of informed and immediate care.

Key definitions

  • Animal bites are wounds inflicted by an animal's teeth, which can introduce bacteria from the animal’s mouth into the wound, leading to infection.
  • First aid - The initial assistance or treatment given to someone who is injured or suddenly taken ill, before professional medical help can be provided.

Relevant legislation and regulations

In the UK, the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) indirectly touch upon the need for adequate first aid provisions in settings involving children and animals. Childcare providers must follow the statutory framework set by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in England, which mandates that all practitioners have paediatric first aid training.

Immediate actions post-bite

  • Ensure safety - Remove the child from the vicinity of the animal to prevent further attacks.
  • Examine the wound - Check the severity of the bite. If it’s a minor scrape or puncture, proceed with cleaning. For severe wounds (deep cuts, continuous bleeding, signs of muscle or bone exposure), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Clean the wound - Rinse the wound under running water and use a mild soap to clean the area thoroughly to remove saliva and bacteria.
  • Stop the bleeding - Apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth to control bleeding.
  • Apply antibiotic cream - To decrease the risk of infection, apply a layer of antibiotic ointment if there are no known allergies.
  • Cover the wound - Dress it with a sterile bandage.

Monitoring and follow-up

Watch for signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or pus. Fever or behavioural changes in the child also necessitate a visit to the doctor.

Best practices in preventing animal bites

  • Educate children on how to interact safely with animals.
  • Supervise children closely around pets and unfamiliar animals.
  • Ensure pets are vaccinated and receive regular health check-ups.


  • Encourage parents and caregivers to learn basic first aid specific to paediatric emergencies.
  • Advocate for regular professional training for all child-related workers in recognising and responding to medical emergencies, including animal bites.


Animal bites in children and babies require prompt and effective first aid to mitigate the risk of severe infections and complications. By staying informed on the latest first aid techniques and understanding the relevant regulations, caregivers can ensure they are prepared to act confidently and competently in such emergencies. Remember, prevention is just as critical as treatment; understanding animal behaviour and educating children on interacting with animals safely can drastically reduce the incidence of these potentially traumatic events.

At The Mandatory Training Group, we offer comprehensive courses in paediatric first aid tailored to meet statutory and regulatory compliance standards, including those set by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Equip yourself or your team with the knowledge and skills to handle paediatric first aid emergencies confidently. Click here to learn more about our training programmes and ensure that safety is a priority in your care environment.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

Understanding and managing first aid for animal bites in children and babies - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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