Tips for Protecting Children from Dog Attacks
Millions of Americans are bitten by dogs each year, with over half of the victims being children. When a child is bitten by a dog, they are more likely to suffer serious injuries. Not all dog bites come from a stranger’s pet – many dog bites happen with animals the family knows or even their own dog. Even dogs who have never shown any sort of aggression toward anyone can be provoked and bite. To protect children from traumatizing dog bites, there are many steps parents can take. The following tips can help protect children from a devastating dog attack.
Some of the most important things parents can teach their children about interacting with dogs include:
- Do not approach, touch, or try to play with a dog who is eating, sleeping, playing with a toy or bone, or caring for puppies. Dogs are more likely to bite if they are startled, scared, or caring for their young.
- Never approach a barking, growling, snarling, or scared dog.
- Never pet an unfamiliar dog without asking permission from the dog’s owner first. If the owner says the child can pet the dog, the child should first let the dog sniff a closed hand. Then instead of petting the dog on the top of the head, the child should pet the dog’s shoulders.
- Never try to pet dogs who are behind a fence or in a car. Dogs will often be territorial over spaces like these and will protect them.
- If a child sees a dog off-leash running around outside, they should not approach the animal and should tell an adult immediately.
- If an off-leash dog comes near your child, they should not run or scream. Instead, they should stay very still and not look into the dog’s eyes. Stand still like a tree until the dog leaves. Try to be as boring as possible. Once the dog loses interest, they can slowly back away towards an adult.
- If a child falls down or is knocked down by a dog, they should curl up into a little ball with their knees tucked into their stomach, and their hands behind their neck to protect the neck and ears. Stay very still and quiet and the dog will sniff and most likely go away.
- Never try to run away from a dog. If a dog does run after your child, tell them to “feed” the dog a shirt, bag, jacket, or anything the dog can grab onto as a distraction.
- A child should not try to kiss a dog on the face or hug a dog tightly. Dogs do not like this and commonly bite to make this behavior stop. Instead, pet the dog on the chest or side of the neck.
Parents can take the following steps to protect their children from dog attacks:
- If your family is ready for a new dog, take time to research different breeds and their characteristics to see what type of dog would match your family best.
- Make sure your family dog has all required shots and is taken in for regular vet visits. This will ensure any unusual behavior is caught early.
- Train your dog. Use positive reinforcement to train basic behaviors that can help your dog with self-control. You can take your dog to obedience classes or hire a dog trainer to assist you.
- Always supervise your children around dogs. If you have toddlers or babies, never leave them alone with a dog. Do not assume your child is “good with pets” as each dog will be different.
- Never let your child hit a dog. You want your dog to associate only positive experiences with your children.
- Don’t let your child play aggressive games like tug-of-war or wresting with your dog. This style of play can often go too far and the dog may get defensive.
- Have your dog spayed or neutered. Spayed and neutered pets tend to be a bit calmer, healthier, and less likely to be aggressive.
- Teach your dog about the world. When training your dog, introduce the dog to new people, places, smells, sounds, and items. Dogs who have positive experiences with new places, people, and things are less likely to be scared when approached by a new person.
Even if you have taught your children everything on this list, your child may still be hurt in a dog attack. Dog attacks can cause severe injuries to a child. If injured by a dog, seek medical attention immediately. Dog bites not only cause punctures, lacerations, and open wounds, they can easily and quickly get infected from bacteria found in the dog’s mouth. After seeking medical attention, you should contact the police and file a report. Many pet owners can be incredibly defensive of their dogs and having a police report on file will be important for any future litigation.
California Dog Bite Injury Lawyers
If your child has been injured in a dog attack, call our legal team today. The California dog bite attorneys at Curtis Legal Group have extensive experience representing dog bite victims and getting our clients the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Ensuring your child’s medical bills, mental and physical therapy, and pain and suffering resulting from the dog attack are financially compensated is our top priority. We also understand that the owner of the dog might be a friend or family member, and we can help preserve these relationships while still obtaining your rightful compensation. If you or your child was injured in a dog attack, contact Curtis Legal Group today at 1-800-LAW-3080 to discuss your case and learn how we can help you and your family recover.