Thursday, June 14, 2012

When a dog bites a crawling baby or excited toddler, whose fault is it?

There are almost five million dog bites every year in the United Statesand nearly one million require medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  There were 31 fatal dog attacks in the United States in 2011, including a 15-day-old infant.  You can read their stories at

Most dogs bites are from dogs known to the victim, owned either by the victim’s family or neighbor.

 When a dog bites a crawling baby or excited toddler, whose fault is it? 

Dog owners are quick to say it wasn’t the dog’s fault, and they are right. It wasn’t the dog’s fault. The dog was being a dog, and the toddler was being a toddler.  Was it the owner’s fault for not controlling their dog, or the parent’s fault for not supervising the child?

 Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann, a pediatrician with St. Louis Children’s Hospital, says there are key things you can do to prevent dog bites:

1)      Never, ever put an infant or toddler on the floor with a dog.

2)      Be sure that dogs cannot access children, especially infants, while they are sleeping.

3)      Even if you do not own a dog, teach children age-appropriate interactions with dogs.  When teaching children how to approach a dog, always be sure a dog is leashed and under an adult’s full control.

4)      Teach children never to put their face at a dog’s level.

5)      Do not approach an unfamiliar dog, even if it looks friendly.

6)      Do not run from a dog or scream.

7)      Remain motionless (e.g., “be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.

8)      If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., “be still like a log”).

9)      Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.

10)  Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.

11)  Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.

12)  Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

13)  Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.

1 comment:

Doggie Valentino and Kubrick 9 said...

All very good points. Great info.