Approximately 90 million dogs are kept by Americans as pets, making them one of the most common and beloved pets in the country. Unfortunately, dogs can also be the cause of a devastating injury. About 4.7 million people in the United States become dog bite victims each year–and half of those victims are children. Indeed, more than 500 Floridians are hospitalized annually due to a dog bite.
As the weather gets even warmer and your children and pets spend more time outside, here are some steps you can take to protect your child from being the victim of a dog bite this summer.
Always Supervise Your Child Around Dogs
It can be tempting to let your children play unattended around trusted dogs, like a family member’s beloved golden retriever or a neighbor’s friendly cocker spaniel. Even trusted dogs can bite without warning, however. Never leave your children unsupervised around dogs.
Dogs instinctively react to perceived threats, and if your child tries to run away or fight back against a dog, they think might attack them, the chances that the dog will bite go up dramatically.
Instead, tell your child to stay where they are and minimize their movements if confronted with a threatening dog. They should ignore the dog as much as possible, and refrain from making eye contact. If they do need to leave the situation, they should back away from the dog as slowly as possible.
Teach Your Child to Respect a Dog’s Personal Space
Dogs are naturally territorial and may bite if they feel they or their territory is threatened. Tell your children not to approach strange dogs and to keep away from areas that a dog may perceive as its territory (such as a backyard fence). Also, never try to pet a dog that is eating, sleeping or nursing their puppies.
If your child has been bitten by a dog contact Armando Personal Injury Law at (813)538-1589 or fill out our confidential contact form. We have offices in Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Lakeland, Florida and we offer complete legal assistance every step of the way.