Protecting Children From Dog Bites
Children Are at a Higher Risk for Dog Bites Than Anyone Else
Young children between the ages of five and nine are five times more likely to be bitten by a dog than any other age group. Because children are small and unable to fight off a dog attack, they are more likely than adult dog bite victims to need medical attention for their injuries. Understanding why dogs bite children can help you protect your children, and can also help you determine if you have a case against the dog’s owner if your child is bitten.
Why Dogs Bite Children
The medical journal Injury Prevention recently reported the results of a study looking into the main causes of dog aggression towards children. They found that dogs tend to bite children for two main reasons: protecting their territory and feeling anxious. The study reported the following findings:
- Children under the age of six were more likely to be bitten when a dog felt the kids were threatening to take his food or toys.
- Older children were bitten when the dog felt the kids were intruding on his territory.
- A dog was more likely to bite children he knew while he was guarding his food.
- A dog was more likely to bite children he didn’t know while he was protecting his territory.
- Noise and unpredictable movements from young children made dogs feel anxious which increased the chance they would bite out of fear.
Even a family dog is more likely to bite the youngest members of the family because very young children like to touch dogs in the face, kiss them on the face, tease them, take their toys, and climb on them. These behaviors can test the patience of even the gentlest dogs.
How to Prevent These Attacks
When dogs bite children, they are often acting out of what they believe to be self-defense. As young children cannot be expected to know how to act around animals, it is important that they are supervised at all times when they are around dogs and that any handling or teasing of the dog is stopped by an adult. When supervising a child around a dog, be sure to do the following:
- Do not allow the child to climb on a dog or attempt to ride on the dog’s back.
- Do not allow the child to touch the dog’s face.
- If a dog growls, remove the dog immediately.
- Remove dog toys, bedding, or food from the room.
You may be vigilant in supervising your child around dogs, but if the child is in someone else’s care when he is bitten by a dog, the dog’s owner should be held accountable. A young child is not responsible for his or her own behavior and should not share any of the blame for the attack.
William Enoch Andrews Watches Out for Children
As a father of six, Mr. Andrews knows how precious children are. If your child is injured by a dog, he will make sure the dog’s owner is held liable and that you receive the maximum possible compensation for your child’s injury and suffering. Contact him through the link on this page for more information.