Each year, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs and 800,000 of those require medical attention. Children account for half of these cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Because of their inexperience and size, children are particularly prone to serious injury from animal attacks. Dogs also are more prone to biting children because they sense that they’re being challenged when a child approaches at eye-to-eye level.
Parents can help prevent serious injuries in their children by teaching them some simple rules about dog bite prevention. While certain dogs are more commonly associated with dogs bites, it’s important to remember that ANY dog may bite.
Large, small, cute, ugly, they can all inflict serious bite wounds.
Safe Kids Kansas offers the following tips on how to prevent dog bites:
Parents should teach their children:
- Don’t pet a dog without the owner’s permission.
- Don’t pet a dog—even your own—without letting him see and sniff you first. Do not surprise a dog by sneaking up on it.
- Never approach a strange dog, especially if it is restrained or chained up. Always assume that a dog that doesn’t know you may see you as an intruder or a threat.
- Avoid running past a dog while playing. A dog’s natural instinct will be to chase and catch you.
- Remain calm if ever confronted by a strange dog; don’t stare into the dog’s eyes and don’t run away or scream. Teach your child not to run, but to stand very still. If the child is knocked to the ground or falls, they should curl into a ball while using their hands and arms to protect their face and neck.
- Never disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies.
- Avoid rough play with dogs. Never tease or harass a pet.
Also, report unlicensed/stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior. Enforcement of restraint laws is essential in reducing dog bite incidences.
If you are bitten:
- Seek medical attention. The saliva of dogs has bacteria in high concentrations. All wounds from pet bites should be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible after the injury has occurred.
- Report any dog bites to animal control.