About 4.7 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. More than half of the children bitten by dogs are under the age of 14. Some bites may be much more serious than a little nip and may actually lead to hospitalization or even surgery. Teach your kids a few basic dog manners and how to treat an unfamiliar dog. Here are 7 tips you can follow to teach your child dog safety:
- Don’t tease, please.
- Only pet with permission.
- Give space.
- Slow down.
- Always get help.
- Fingers together.
- Even good dogs can bite.
No matter how well you think you might know the neighbors dog, always supervise young children around someone else’s pet. Teach your kids these safety guidelines before touching a dog:
- Always ask the owner if it is OK to pet the dog.
- Let the dog see and sniff you before you pet it.
- Don’t run toward or away from a dog.
- If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, stay calm, don’t look it directly in the eyes, and stand still or back up slowly.
- If a dog tries to bite you, put anything you can between you and the dog. If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball, cover your face, and lie still.
If a Dog Bites Your Child:
- Contact your doctor immediately, particularly if the dog is not yours. Some injuries may need to be treated in the emergency department.
- Gather the following information to help the doctor determine the risk of infection and what kind of treatment: name and location of dog’s owners, if the dog is up-to-date on its vaccinations, whether or not the attack was provoked, your child’s immunization status and any chronic medical history.