love dogs. Whether it's Lassie or Wishbone, kids
and dogs just seem to go together like peanut butter
and jelly. However, in 1994, roughly 4.7 million
persons in the United States were bitten by dogs. Over
half of those seeking medical care were children under
the age of 12.
any bite can cause severe injury or infection, when
children are bitten by dogs they are often bitten in
the face. In addition, it's been theorized that
dogs don't recognize small children as being
human. (Can you blame them? Toddlers don't
move, act or smell like adults.)
times, a child's lack of judgment and ignorance about
how to behave around a dog adds to the risk. It is
very important that parents closely supervise children
when around dogs, but there are times when your child
will come into contact with a stray dog.
Therefore, parents MUST teach their children how to
reduce their chances of being bitten by a dog.
The following are essential lessons for children of
any age, but especially those under 12:
Never approach an
Never run from a dog
Stay still when an
unfamiliar dog comes up to you ("be still
like a tree").
If knocked over by a
dog, roll into a ball and lie still ("be like
Do not look a dog in
Do not disturb a dog
that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
Do not pet a dog
without letting it see and sniff you first.
Never play with a
dog unless supervised by an adult.
Parents should observe
the following rules:
Never leave an
infant or child alone with any dog.
Teach your dog
submissive behaviors, like rolling over to show
Do not play
aggressive games with your dog, such as wrestling.
For more information
about teaching children to stay "bite free",
the Humane Society provides these resources (open in a