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Summer is here and that means more people enjoying outdoor activities. Children are out of school and neighborhood streets are busy with activity. It also means more people, both children and adults, are at a greater risk of being bitten by a dog.
According to statistics from the Center of Disease Control (CDC), every year almost 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs. Half of those dog-bite victims are children. One in five victims has to seek medical treatment for the bites they receive. Almost 450,000 children need medical attention for the bites they get. In one year alone, 27,000 dog bite victims get bitten by dogs so badly they require reconstructive surgery.
Children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old are most at risk of receiving injuries from a dog bite. And men are more likely than women to be victims of dog bites.Contrary to what most people think, there is no specific breed of dog that is more apt to bite than others. Any dog has the capacity of suddenly biting. It’s important for everyone to know how to behave around an unfamiliar dog, and it is especially critical to teach children how to react to a strange dog. The CDC offers these tips to share with children:
- Never approach a dog you do not know;
- Never run away from a dog;
- Never scream at a dog;
- Teach children to stay very still – “like a tree” – if a strange dog comes near them;
- If a dog knocks them down, teach them how to roll themselves up into a ball and not to move;
- Never play with a dog unless there is an adult supervising;
- Teach children that if they see a dog they do not know, to stay away and tell an adult;
- Never lift a hand up to pet a dog’s head. Always keep your hand by your side and let the dog sniff your hand first;
- Never bother a dog who is sleeping or eating;
- If you are bitten by a dog, tell an adult immediately.
According to statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vehicle crashes were the number one cause of accidental deaths for children 14 years and younger in 2012, with 1,100 lives lost. Another 176,000 children were injured. Sadly, despite increase use and awareness, many of those young victims were not restrained in child seats properly.The CDC numbers show that infant car seats reduce the risk of death in car crashes by 71 percent for infants. The risk for toddlers, ages 1 to 4 years old, is reduced by 54 percent when properly restrained in child safety seats. For children ages 4 to 8, booster seats can reduce their risk by 45 percent. The CDC also recommends that children under the age of 12 always sit in the back of the vehicle. Airbags that go off can kill a young child. It’s also critical that a rear-facing infant car seat never be placed in the front seat or in front of an airbag. The safest place for the child to be buckled in is the middle back seat. With so many seats and stages of development, it’s important to know which seat is appropriate for the age and size of your child.
- Safety seats for babies from infancy to two years old should always be in a rear-facing seat. However, do not choose your child safety seat based on the age of the child. Check the manufacturer’s height and weight recommendations.
- For children between the ages of two and five years old, a front facing child safety seat is appropriate. Again, it’s important to check the manufacturer’s height and weight recommendations before choosing the seat.
- Once your child has physically outgrown a front-facing child safety seat, booster seats should be used. These seats are generally used for children between the ages of five and eight years old. Children should not stop using booster seats until the vehicle seat belts fit them properly. According to the CDC website, “seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck).” This usually happens when a child is approximately 57 inches tall.