Did you know that the majority of dog bite victims are children? There are several things that you and your children can do to prevent bites and help ensure safety around dogs.
What Parents Can Do
- Always supervise your children when they are interacting with a dog, even your family dog.
- Make a rule with your child – Never approach a dog that is unknown to them or does not belong to them.
- If you have a dog, teach them to be comfortable in the presence of children through positive experiences. Do not encourage rough-housing or wrestling/chasing between your dog and child.
What Children Can Do
- No “hugs and kisses” – face-to-face contact and hugging are common causes of dog bites. Although this may seem like a harmless behavior, it can be intimidating or uncomfortable for many dogs. Teach children to instead pet the dog on the chest or side of the neck.
- Be seen and sniffed first – Never pet a dog before allowing them to see and sniff you first, this may startle them.
- If a strange dog approaches, be like a “tree” – teach your child to stand still, keep their arms in beside their body, and do not make eye contact with the dog (look down at their own feet).
- Respect a dog’s resting place and any belongings (toys, food, etc) – do not disturb or startle a dog that is resting, eating or potentially protecting something.