When you take your child out to shared, public spaces, it’s important to keep an eye for them a myriad of reasons. Although the potential of a dog attack might not be something you’ve ever pondered. You should do all you can in your power to protect your little one, no matter how innocent a dog may seem.
In fact, the Humane Society estimates that over half of victims of the 4.7 million dog bites that happen in the U.S. each year are children. So, as you visit friends and family members with furry friends or frequent local parks, you should do check-ins with both your children and dog owners to try and prevent a painful attack.
Whether it’s a stranger’s dog or someone in your family has a new dog, you should check in with the owner to see if it is okay for your child to pet the dog. Explain to your child that no matter how hard it is to fight the urge to greet a cute puppy, that they need to ask first. Oftentimes, when dogs aren’t familiar with someone or socialized yet they respond by biting or attacking.
If the dog owner feels comfortable with letting your child play with their dog, then easing into the interaction by letting the dog sniff your child’s hand and seeing how they react is crucial. Dogs let their strong sense of smell guide them through the world. So, if they pull back when presented a child’s hand, you shouldn’t force the interaction.
Teaching your child how to properly pet a dog before the moment they meet with one can be helpful. Both kids and adults often feel joyful about meeting animals, but kids may not be able to contain their joy and could up to a pet a dog in a sensitive area. Petting the dog first and explaining to your child to be gentle and to avoid petting the dogs head, belly paws or tail area can help prevent a dog from feeling intimidated or wanting to attack.
Dogs can truly be a friend to people of all ages. But instead of letting your child run up and pet any dog, you should help instill a more cautious mindset to save them from a painful attack or dog bite. However, if anyone in your family has been involved in a dog attack, an experienced personal injury attorney can help your loved one heal and seek justice.