Dogs may be man’s best friend, but even the gentlest and smallest of canines can bite without much warning. Emergency Room doctors typically treat children for severe dog bite injuries more often than adults. Kids may be more susceptible to dog attacks when they aren’t taught how to interact safely with animals. Here at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, our Emergency Room physicians recommend taking proactive steps to protect families.
Require Parental Supervision
Supervising children when they are near dogs is one of the most effective ways to protect them from dog bites. Adults can remind children to interact with their furry friends properly. An adult can also intervene quickly if need be. If you see a dog attack your child, immediately grasp the dog’s back legs and lift them up as if you were holding a wheelbarrow. Walk the dog backward until you can secure the dog in another room or the kennel.
Demonstrate Appropriate Petting Techniques
Use age-appropriate language to explain to your child why he or she shouldn’t approach unfamiliar dogs without permission and parental supervision. When it is appropriate for your child to pet a dog, demonstrate how you hold your hand out for the dog to sniff before gently petting the dog on the chest or under the chin. Tell your child that it is never okay to pull a dog’s ears or tail, or to take away food or toys.
Discuss How to Handle Aggressive Dogs
Every child should know how to respond to an aggressive dog . If a dog attacks, your child should stand “still like a tree,” remain quiet, and look at the ground instead of at the dog. If a dog knocks your child over, he or she should curl up into a ball, and cover the head and ears with his or her hands.
The Emergency Room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is available 24/7, every day of the year to treat all sorts of children’s health emergencies. Our hospital in Thousand Oaks features a dedicated Pediatric Emergency Room with specially trained staff, private rooms, and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). You can call our hospital at (877) 888-5746, but please direct medical emergencies to a 911 dispatcher.