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Why it’s vital to teach children how to interact with dogs safely

Dogs may be beloved members of the family, but even the family dog can pose a serious risk to young children. According to Reuters, roughly 37% of American households own a dog, amounting to about 70 million dogs living in the country. Each year, five million people are bitten by dogs in the United States, and half of those victims are children.

Even if you aren’t a dog-owner, your neighbor’s or friend’s dog could still be a source of injury for your children. According to one 2010 study, in nearly 90% of dog bite cases examined, the dog was known to the child. In a 2018 survey, almost 84% of dog bites over a seven-year period happened at home.

Kids, especially younger ones, don’t always know how to act appropriately around dogs or recognize cues that signal the dog is upset, scared or ready to bite. Because of their size, younger children also tend to have more severe injuries than kids in older age groups. Helping your kids understand how to interact with dogs safely and when a dog is aggressive is essential for ensuring they don’t suffer injuries.

Avoiding risky scenarios with dogs

Parents must realize that familiarity with a dog doesn’t mean that it won’t bite. The harsh reality is any dog can bite – even the ones that love you and your family. In addition to never leaving your young children unsupervised with a dog, teach your children to avoid approaching a dog in these scenarios:

  • The dog is not with its owner
  • The dog is on the other side of a fence
  • The dog is eating or sleeping
  • The dog is with its puppies
  • The dog is playing with its toy
  • The dog is barking, snarling or growling
  • The dog appears to be hiding

By taking precautions with your household dogs and practicing safe interactions with your children, you can prevent severe dog bite injuries. If you or a member of your family suffers injuries from a dog bite, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine your options. To schedule a consult, complete our online contact form or call 912-289-0640.