Dogs bite humans at an alarming rate — estimated at about 4.5 million per year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What might be more surprising is that about half of them are children. Dog bites can be deadly, so educating your child (and yourself!) on how to prevent them is of the utmost importance.
Most children love dogs and get right into their face — this is why two-thirds of dog bites occur in the face and neck for children, which can require plastic surgery to fix. Even the friendliest of dogs can be startled or overwhelmed; one study has shown that most dog bites to children are from ones they already know. By keeping a close eye on children and following these tips, you can help protect your child from dog bites:
- If you have a small child or are expecting, you may want to wait before getting a dog. Experts say that until your child is at least school age, having a dog may be problematic. School-age is the time they start to learn boundaries, which is a huge factor of learning to respect dogs and their space.
- Consider breed: while puppies full of energy are cute, they can be very difficult to keep up with. Coupled with the fact that you are raising an energy-filled small child, it may be best for you (and the dog) to consider a more passive animal.
- Train your dog well. Make sure it has plenty of time to socialize and learn to play with people as well as other animals. Get it vaccinated and fixed, and train it to obey commands; all of these can substantially reduce the likelihood of dog bites.
- Never leave your baby or small child alone with your dog. While you may think they’re old enough, it’s so easy for your dog to get startled. Leaving your baby asleep on a dog may be cute, but just one doorbell ring could spook your dog and throw the child off him or her. You must always keep a watchful eye.
- Teach your child to never disturb your dog if it’s eating, sleeping, or taking care of its puppies.
- Your child should always allow a dog to sniff its hand first after asking its owner for permission.
Call 911 if you or your child suffer from a dog bite and seek medical treatment immediately. Dogs may carry bacteria and could require shots or antibiotics. Doctors can assess the severity of the incident and can also help your report the injury.
If you, or your property, is damaged, you can sue and hold dog owners liable. You should hire an experienced dog bite attorney in Charlottesville VA to handle your case. You may be able to get compensation for your bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or permanent injury.
If you or your child has suffered from a dog bite or attack, contact a dog bite lawyer Charlottesville VA respects, Martin Wren P.C. at 434-817-3100 for a free consultation or by filling out a quick contact form here to review your options.