Many times, when children suffer dog bite injuries, it’s because they were around a dog that they didn’t know. They may not have understood how to interact with the dog properly. This isn’t to blame the child for their injuries, of course, but simply to stress that parents can help their children stay safer by being proactive about how to interact with strange animals.
For instance, say that your child has a dog at home. This dog is very friendly, and they get along well. When you’re out, the child sees a similar-looking dog and runs up to give it a hug. The dog sees this as a surprising and aggressive action, and bites the child. This type of situation can be prevented by talking with the child in advance.
Points parents should make
It’s important for parents to sit down and have a conversation about dogs with their children. Below are some key points that you’ll want to make if you need to have this talk:
- Dogs can be dangerous and this needs to be taken seriously.
- You can seek a dog’s consent to interact with it by acting in a slow and controlled manner and seeing how it responds to you.
- For instance, holding out a closed hand to allow the dog to smell it can be a good way to determine if more interaction is wise.
- You should never quickly approach a dog that you don’t know, and you certainly don’t want to hug it or otherwise touch the dog immediately.
- Children should never go around dogs while they are eating or drinking.
Adults can generally read a dog’s body language. They can tell if a dog seems agitated or dangerous. They may know to keep their distance or stop a certain action. But a child may not have the same ability to read that body language, so they may engage in behavior that is aggravating the dog without even realizing it.
Can you seek compensation?
If your child does get bitten by a dog, you may feel that the dog’s owner was negligent. Maybe they didn’t have the dog on a leash. Maybe the dog had a history of biting people, and they didn’t take proper steps to keep your child safe. In a situation like that, seeking legal guidance is a good idea.