One of the most traumatic things that can happen to a child is to be the victim of an animal attack. While most domestic animals are friendly and relatively harmless, there are always unknowns when it comes to animals, particularly unfamiliar ones. A seemingly docile or playful dog actually could be a dangerous dog, and things can turn tragic in the blink of an eye. Estimates are that about 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bite injuries every year, and many of those victims are children.
As the weather warms up and as school is out, children will be outside much more often and might be getting into things that they shouldn't -- and encountering unfamiliar animals in their neighborhood. Having said that, there are several things that parents can do in order to keep their children as safe as possible when it comes to animal attacks.
Obviously, educating kids about being cautious around unfamiliar dogs is crucial. Kids are full of enthusiasm and some dogs don't respond favorably to the kind of energy a young child can present. Dialing back that enthusiasm can prevent a dog from feeling like it has to defend itself.
Kids also need to not disturb dogs when they are eating, sleeping or tending to puppies. This might seem like a good time to approach a dog, but it can trigger violent responses.
Another tip is to make sure that even small dogs are treated with caution. Small dogs, despite their diminutive size, can still inflict serious injury, particularly when children are involved.
Source: Four States Homepage, "Dog Bite Cases Increase in Summer," Brad Douglas, June 9, 2014