One of the most difficult things to hear about is when a child gets mauled to death by a dog. It seems as though it happens more often that it should. But, just how often does a child get killed by a dog? Children are most often the victims of dog bites and dog attacks because they are most likely to engage a dog because they oftentimes do not understand the boundaries when it comes to animals.
It is estimated that over 4 million people are bitten by dogs annually and that nearly 800,000 of those attacks end in injuries severe enough for a hospital visit. Close to ½ of those patients are children. Unfortunately, children oftentimes require inpatient stays at hospitals because their smaller bodies incur more damage due to their small size.
Even if the dog attack was not fatal, it can turn very dangerous very quickly if your child’s injuries are left untreated. Most injuries that occur to children involve their heads, necks and facial regions. It is important to seek medical treatment by professionals because if left untreated, dog bites can become infected. Children will oftentimes incur no only physical injuries but emotional damage as well.
If your child is bitten in Massachusetts, there is good news. The dog bite and dog attack law in Massachusetts states that if your child is under 7 years of age they are presumed not to be trespassing, teasing or abusing the dog and the dog owner or caretaker must prove otherwise.
Educating yourselves and your children is the best ways to prevent dog attacks and/or dog bites. The following are some helpful tips on staying safe:
- Never play with a dog without having an adult present.
- Avoid approaching a dog that is unfamiliar to you.
- Never disturb a dog that is eating, tending to puppies or taking a nap.
- If a dog does approach you, let it sniff you before petting it and do not run away.
- Stay calm.
Staying vigilant of your kids and dogs while they interact is key when assessing if a dog feels uncomfortable around kids. If it does, the best thing to do is either remove the child or remove the dog, never forcing interactions and always remaining calm. Dogs are a major part of most family’s lives and come with major responsibility. Educating pet owners about their dogs and children’s behaviors can reduce a great deal of dog attacks on children.