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Dog Bites

Child Safety Basics


Updated May 24, 2006

Dogs are very popular pets, especially among families with young children.

With dogs being a common family pet, it shouldn't be a surprise that dog bites are a common injury for children. In fact, according to the CDC, 'more children visited the emergency department for dog bites than for skateboard, inline skating, baby walker, all-terrain vehicle and horseback riding accidents combined.'

Since dogs do make such great pets for most families, the risk of dog bites shouldn't usually dissuade you from owning a dog. Instead, you should simply take great steps to teach your kids to be safe around dogs and help them to avoid dog bites.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC, picking a good match for children, such as a Collie or Labrador retriever, socializing your pet, training your dog, avoiding playing aggressive games with your dog, and neutering your dog, can also make it less likely that your dog will bite.

Also remember to never leave a young child or infant alone with a dog without adult supervision.

The CDC also recommends that you can help prevent dog bites by teaching your kids to:

  • not approach unfamiliar dogs
  • not run away from a dog and scream
  • remain motionless if they are approached by an unfamiliar dog
  • roll into a ball and lie still if they are knocked over by a dog
  • only play with dogs if they are supervised by an adult
  • immediately report stray dogs to an adult and to report any dogs that are acting strangely
  • not make direct eye contact with dogs
  • not disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, or taking care of her puppies
  • allow a dog to sniff and see them before trying to pet a dog
  • immediately tell an adult if they are bitten by a dog
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