Keep Children Safe from Dog Bites

As summer approaches and children spend more time in their community, health officials from the American Academy of Pediatrics are reminding parents to take extra caution to prevent their children from suffering a dog bite.

More than half of the 4.7 million dog bites reported each year involve children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Parents, please don’t ever leave a young child unsupervised around any dog, even a dog well-known to your family,” said AAP President Dr. Robert Block. “Even very young children should be taught not to tease or hurt animals. And with school almost over for the year, children will be spending more time in parks, at friends’ homes, and other places where they may encounter dogs. They need to know what to do to minimize the risk of being bitten.”

Several health, animal and insurance agencies participating in National Dog Bite Prevention Week offer parents the following tips:

  • Always supervise children around a dog. Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • If a dog threatens you, avoid screaming and making eye contact. Try to remain still until the dog leaves.
  • Never approach a strange dog. Always avoid dogs that are tethered or confined.
  • Do not disturb dogs when they are sleeping, eating or caring for their puppies.
  • Do not pet a dog without permission from its owner.
  • Always let a dog see and sniff you before petting it.
  • If you are knocked down, curl into a ball to protect your face with your hands.

Seek medical attention if your child is bitten. Some bites require antibiotics or a tetanus shot.

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