While dog bites are a serious problem in this country for people of all ages, it is estimated that more than 4.7 million people are bitten each year – children, still being the most vulnerable among us. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for children between the ages of 5 and 9.
If you are looking into getting a dog, the CDC recommends that you:
- Consult with a professional such as a veterinarian or responsible breeder to learn about breeds of dogs that might be a good fit for your family.
- Avoid dogs with histories of aggression if you have children.
- Hold off acquiring a dig is you sense that a child is fearful or apprehensive about it.
- Try to spend time with a dog before buying or adopting one and use caution when bringing a dog into the home of an infant or toddler. Nearly every dog should be spayed or neutered which can help reduce aggressive tendencies.
- Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.
- Avoid playing aggressive, rough games with your dog.
- Properly socialize and train any dog entering the household. Teach the dog submissive behaviors (e.g. rolling over to expose abdomen and relinquishing food without growling).
- Immediately seek professional advice from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist if the dog becomes aggressive.
The bottom line is that a little planning and preparation can help reduce the chances of a child being bitten.