According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children are more likely than adults to require medical attention for dog bite injuries. Well over 400,000 children receive medical attention for dog bite injuries each year. It is not possible to prevent all dog attacks, but there are steps that dog owners and parents can take to reduce the number of dog bite incidents that affect children in Maryland.
Safety starts at home. If you are considering getting a dog, talk to a rescue organization or reputable breeder about the types of dogs that will be ideal for your household. Speak to your local veterinarian about what trainers in the area they respect as well.
Once you choose a dog, there are many steps you can take to protect children from an attack:
- Spay or neuter your dog right away.
- Tell children to stay away from dogs that are eating, sleeping, or nursing.
- Never allow children to stay alone with your dog.
- Do not play aggressive games such as tug-of-war or wrestling with your dog.
- Take your dog to a trainer.
- Seek advice if your dog is exhibiting signs of aggression.
- Keep your dog on a leash whenever he or she is outside.
- Do not leave your dog tied up outside.
Make sure to teach your children that unfamiliar dogs can be dangerous. Never approach a dog you don’t know and do not run from a dog or scream. Instead, children should be taught to remain still and to roll into a ball if the dog knocks them to the ground.
If a dog attacks your child, make sure you report the incident right away. Try to determine if the dog has been vaccinated and make sure that your child is treated that same day. It may also be in your best interest to research your legal options as financial support may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other related damages. An experienced Maryland dog bite lawyer can help protect your child’s rights in the aftermath of a traumatic dog attack.