Keeping your kids safe around dogs

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies

May 20-26, 2007 is Dog Bite Prevention Week, a good time to think about your children's safety around dogs. With everyone out enjoying the weather, summer is peak season for dog bites and the American Humane Association (AHA) wants to educate kids and parents on the proper way to interact with dogs and avoid injuries.

Dog attacks are more common than I imagined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Veterinary Medical Association, dog attacks are responsible for 4.7 million injuries each year with children under 15 being the the most common victims.

I've written before about the fact that I am not really a dog person. I like dogs well enough, but strange dogs make me nervous. Especially big ones. I try not to pass my fear on to Ellie, but I have taught her to avoid dogs we don't know. If she sees an unaccompanied dog approaching her, she has been taught to stand still and wait for it to move on.

But what should she do if a dog is about to attack her? According to the AHA, if at all possible, she should put something between herself and the dog, such as a back back or a bike. If that fails to deter the dog and it does attack, she should roll up into a ball and cover her face.

Another statistic: of the deaths resulting from dog attacks, 24% involved unrestrained dogs who were off their owner's property. Keeping your dog on a leash when outside could go a long way to reducing that number. For more tips on being safe around dogs, click here.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.