Dog Bites and Children: Facts, Recommendations, and Prevention
The parents of young children should take the time to educate them on the proper way to behave around dogs to avoid aggressive behavior. Approximately half of the kids in the United States suffer a traumatic dog bite before they turn 12 because they do not realize their actions are perceived as provoking. Regardless of how comfortable you feel around your own pet, or one of a close friend, any interaction is potentially dangerous without taking precautions. The majority of dog bites actually come from animals that the child is familiar with, and almost 1 million bites per year require medical attention due to the severity. Although it can be difficult to make your little one understand that there is a real danger in such a cute animal, it is necessary to begin education as soon as possible. Click here to download a brochure from American Veterinary Medical Association.
Safety Recommendations for Parents
Do not disregard the danger of a dog simply because it is a smaller breed. Discuss the following dog bite prevention tips with your child so that they understand the correct way to approach animals and certain actions to avoid.
- It is never okay to approach an unfamiliar dog without asking the owner if it is safe. If allowed, the correct way to touch them is to allow it to sniff your closed hand so that it does not sense any aggression or danger that would cause a reaction. Pet the shoulders or chest of the animal while making sure to avoid the top of the head.
- Do not try to interact while they are eating, chewing on a toy, caring for their babies, or sleeping because they may become frightened or defensive. Also keep distance if they are growling, barking, or seem afraid because they might lash out.
- Stay away from any dog that is loose, even if it is a neighborhood pet, and immediately bring it to the attention of an adult.
- If you are approached by a loose dog, stand completely still rather than scream or run. The dog should lose interest so that they can slowly back away to safety. If your child is knocked down or falls, the most protected position is curled into a ball, with the knees tucked into the stomach. The fingers should be interlocked behind the neck as a way to guard the ears and neck from bites if the animal does attack.
If Your Child Gets Bitten
Try to keep your child calm and make sure that they receive proper medical treatment for any injuries. If the dog is a family pet, you should confine it in a separate area so that there is no immediate threat to other people. Talk to your veterinarian to make sure that they are current with vaccinations and discuss the best way to move forward. The authorities need to be contacted if the dog is owned by another person so that you can file a report. It is necessary to provide as much information as possible to locate the dog and the owner. Give us a call at 1-800-Lundy Law so that our dog bite lawyers can work with you to ensure the right actions are taken. Below are a few more surprising dog bite facts from the American Veterinary Medical Association: