May 19-25 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Children are the most common victims of dog bites nationwide, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and among children, young children – ages 0-4 years – are the most likely to be injured by a dog bite.
You can help protect children you care for this summer by teaching them how to behave around dogs they meet. By teaching children “good dog manners,” you can help them reduce the risk of suffering a dog bite injury.
Prevent dog bites by following these rules:
- Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog. Supervise both the child and the dog, and separate them if the dog starts showing signs of anxiety, stress, or aggression.
- Teach children to “speak dog.” A dog with stiff posture that is staring, curling its lip, or growling is defending its territory, people, or possessions and may become aggressive. Dogs that are showing the whites of their eyes, licking their chops, or whining are stressed or anxious. Teach children to leave these dogs alone to avoid a bite.
- Don’t approach a strange dog – ask its human first. Children should learn to ask permission of a dog’s owner before approaching the dog, and never to put their hands through a fence to pet a dog – the dog may understand this as an intrusion on its territory.
- Stay calm if a dog approaches. Stay still to allow the dog to sniff you. Don’t yell, scream, or run. By staying still, avoiding eye contact, and speaking calmly but firmly, children and adults demonstrate to the dog that they are not a threat.
If you’re injured this summer, don’t hesitate to contact the focused New York dog bite injury attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, and Halperin.