Preventive Measures for Dog Bites
Most children are naturally captivated by dogs. The natural curiosity and playful nature of children often compel them to approach and play with dogs. Unfortunately not all dogs share that same sentiment. Some owners isolate their dogs and seldom interact with them. This can cause a dog to be antisocial and become nervous or agitated around other humans. When a child approaches an agitated dog the outcome can be quite dangerous for both the child and dog. A dog bite can be a very traumatic experience to endure, especially for young children. As a parent or guardian there are ways to protect your child from these traumatic experiences with dogs.
- Always teach your children to never approach or attempt to play with dogs they are not well acquainted with. In the eyes of a child, upon first glance all dogs may appear friendly and gentle. However, an energetic child can place even the most friendly dog on edge. Children can be unpredictable, it is very difficult to anticipate their actions. In a similar fashion, dogs can display erratic behavior. For this reason always teach your children to ask permission from the owner to play with their dog before they approach.
- If your child is approached by a dog they do not know, they should always remain calm and limit their movement. If your child attempts to run away the dog's basic instinct may be triggered. This may cause the dog to view your child as a prey to catch. Quick and sudden movements, raised voices, and direct eye contact can all agitate an already aggressive dog. If the situation escalates and the dog knocks over the child, the child should position themselves into a ball, cover their head and lie still. This position protects against bite injuries to the face and neck.
- Always direct your children to report unusual behavior by a dog. Abnormal behavior in a dog can be a sign of rabies. A dog carrying rabies can be extremely dangerous for those in close proximity. If you suspect that a dog has rabies contact animal control and remove yourself and your child from the area. Similarly, always direct your children to report aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior can take on may forms: frenzied running, snarling, or barring of teeth. If your or your child notices this type of behavior contact the owner immediately. If this is not possible, once again remove yourself and your child from the area and call animal control.
- Be sure to teach your children to always inform you of dog bites immediately. Most dog bites require immediate medical attention. Sometimes children may feel that they or the dog will get in trouble if they tell an adult about such things. Your children should always feel safe enough to tell you about things such as this. As a parent you should foster an environment that encourages open communication between you and your child.
If you or your child has been bitten by a dog and you are seeking legal counsel, feel free to contact us at Colley and Colley.