Five Essential Dog Safety Tips Every Child Should Know

Anyone can be bitten by a dog, but overall, children are more frequently the victims of dog attacks. Dog bite injuries are most common for young people aged five through nine years old, and children are more likely than adults to receive medical attention for dog bites.

Why does this happen?

Dogs may bite children for many different reasons. First of all, kids are much closer in size to dogs, and a dog who bites may be trying to establish dominance over the child. However, overall, children don't usually understand boundaries when it comes to household pets. They may tug on the dog's tail, get up in their face, make loud noises, startle the dog, or try to bother the dog while it is eating. Most kids have not been taught how to act around dogs, so they don't know the warning signs to look out for and they don't know how to avoid certain actions that may provoke the animal.

If you are a parent, it is very important that you teach your child how to behave around any dogs they come into contact with, especially if your family already has a dog. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers some essential safety tips for kids:

  • Do not go up to an unfamiliar dog. If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, "be still like a tree" and remain motionless.
  • Never bother a dog that is eating, sleeping, or taking care of puppies.
  • Don't maintain direct eye contact with a dog.
  • If a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball and be still.
  • Do not run from a dog or scream.

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