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Keeping Children Safe

Most dog related injuries happen to children, in their own home or the home of a relative or a friend and by a dog that they know.

When a dog is around, small children should be supervised at all times because:
  • they can unwittingly provoke an attack, for example by trying to take a bone away from a dog, hugging or kissing it
  • dogs may get excited by games being played and jump on or chase a child
  • dogs may try to dominate a child because of a child’s small size.
Children should be taught basic safety habits around dogs, with parents and caregivers showing the way.

Be extra careful with toddlers

Toddlers are especially vulnerable because of their small size, and lack of understanding of risks and verbal instructions. Toddlers should be closely supervised at all times around dogs.
A toddler should not be allowed to:

  • be around dogs, including puppies, without adult supervision
  • put their face down to a dog’s face, hug or kiss it
  • play with a dog’s, food, feeding bowl, toys or bedding
  • wander into neighbouring properties where there may be dogs.

Be very careful with school age children

School age children may put themselves at risk without thinking. They might be quite unrealistic about dogs and not appreciate the risk of being bitten, even by the family pet. For this reason, parents and caregivers should supervise children and dogs when they are together, and correct any unsafe behaviour.
School age children should be taught basic dog safety at a pace they can handle including:

  • how to play with and around dogs
  • what to do around dogs and how dogs react in certain situations
  • what to do if they are worried about a dog
  • asking the owner if they want to pat a dog
Our Tips For Kids are aimed broadly at 5 – 12 year olds.

Be a good role model

Children learn by example – so be a good role model by setting good dog safety rules with your family and following them yourself.

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