Bites, stings and contact with plants or animals: 10 - 14 years

How big a problem is it?

These are serious injuries caused when a child is struck, bitten or otherwise injured by a plant such sharp thorns or animal such as a dog or insect.

Who does it affect?

Ages 10 - 14 are vulnerable to all the different types of injury in this category, but contact with dogs is the largest single cause of injury. For this age group, dog-bites were the cause of nearly 43 per cent of hospitalisations for all bites, stings and contact with plants or animals. Being bitten or stung by a nonvenomous insect is another risk factor for this age group. 

Māori had the highest rate of hospitalisation from 2008- 2012, followed by Pacific Island children, who had the second-highest hospitalisation rate. Māori children are especially prone to being injured from contact with a dog.

The evidence for actions that prevent these injuries is not as strong as other types of injury. We have some tips for which the evidence is uncertain but we still do recommend you consider them a possible prevention for these types of injury.

Top Tips

  • Have good conversations with families about the possible benefits of neutering male dogs and avoiding choosing unsafe breeds as pets.

  • Supervise and restrain the dog when near young children.

  • Educate everyone in the home about the potential risks.

  • Learn how to interact with unfamiliar and pet dogs (see links below).

First Aid

  • If your teen is injured by a dog, sting or having crashed into another child and is unconscious, find CPR instructions here  

  • If you are not alone, call 111 or ask someone to call for you.

  • Do not stop performing CPR until medical help arrives and takes over.

  • Control bleeding by applying pressure with an absorbent cloth or pad

  • If you are not alone, get non-urgent advice from HealthLine (0800) 611 116 or the National Poisons Centre 0800 764 766 in the case of jellyfish, insects and spider bites etc.

  • First aid treatment for jellyfish stings, insect and spider bites should start by flushing with water and gently remove any tentacles. Hot water is a good option but exercise caution as too-hot water can burn.

  • If a body part, like a fingertip, has been bitten off, put the part that was cut off in a sealed plastic bag right away. Put the bag in a container with ice water.

  • If you suspect a broken or fractured bone see the first aid steps here at this KidsHealth page


Antibiotics and a tetanus vaccination or booster may be required. For more information about tetanus, see the Safekids link below or contact the Immunisation Advisory Centre 0800 IMMUNE (466863). Their web page about tetanus is here

Links to Safekids’ resources

Child Dog Bite Hospitalisations in NZ

Links other organisations’ resources

Dog Safety NZ

Dept Internal Affairs Dog Safety Website

Waikato University Publication: Keeping Our Children Safe Around Dogs