Teaching Children to Avoid Dog Bites
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.