As parents, we take every possible measure to protect our children from harm. When they’re little, we childproof the electrical outlets and cabinet doors, and as they grow, insist on bicycle helmets and curfews to keep them safe. Despite our best efforts, kids still get plenty of bumps and bruises along the way—and sometimes, dog bites. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 4.7 million dog bites occurred in 2015. Of those, 400,000 involved children and required medical attention. According to the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA), 36.5% of household in the U.S. own dogs, so it’s important to know how to keep your kids safe around the family pet, and any strange dogs they meet. Here are some tips to help you protect your children and prevent dog bites:
- Start Early: Babies and young toddlers should never be left unsupervised with a dog, even a family pet. Teach young children to use slow, gentle movements and quiet voices when interacting with dogs, and incorporate the following tips:
- Respect their Space: Dogs are territorial animals, and as such, should never be petted when they are crated, behind a fence, eating, or caring for puppies. Do not allow children to play in or around the dog’s crate, and keep the crate in an area where your dog can feel safe and be with family. Teach kids not to interact with dogs that are sleeping, eating, or injured.
- Play it Safe: Never interact or try to play with a strange dog. Always ask the permission of the owner before approaching a dog. Stick to games like fetch, and avoid games that involve running children, rough play or loud noises. Do not allow children to try to ride on a dog or take its toys.
- Be a Tree: If a strange dog approaches your child, the community group Doggone Safe recommends that you teach kids to Be A Tree-- stop, stand on their firm trunk (feet), tuck in their branches (arms) and fold in their roots (hands) and put their head down until the dog leaves or an adult intervenes. If your child falls or is knocked down by a dog, teach them to curl into a ball and tuck their hands and arms in to protect the head and face.
Even with the best intentions, dog bites still happen. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, you will need expert legal advice. At Best Local Attorney, we will find the best attorney to win your case. The Hayes Firm created bestlocalattorney.com to put in you in touch with the best attorney for your unique case. Call 1.800.603.6833 or fill out the free consultation form in the sidebar today, and find a lawyer who will work hard to get the relief you deserve.