Pediatric Doctors and Plastic Surgeons Recommend Dog Safety


American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery Dog Bite Statistics

Leading pediatric and plastic surgeon organizations have spoken to the issues associated with dog bites in the United States. In a recent press release, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery noted some of the following important statistics:

The Centers for Disease Control or CDC note that 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually, more than half of whom are children.

Since 2010, dog bite injuries have been documented as the 11th leading cause of non-fatal injury to children 14 years old and younger.

The American Humane Association noted that 66% of dog bites involving children occur to the head and neck.

In 2014, this resulted in roughly 28,500 reconstructive or plastic surgeries according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a 6% increase over the previous year.

Child Safety Recommendations to Prevent Dog Bites and Attacks on Children

The Society’s press release advocates the education of children, adults and dog owners on matters such as how to handle, train, interact with and treat a dog.

Dog owners were encouraged to speak with a veterinarian before choosing a dog that will fit in well with your family and your home. We invite you to visit the actual statistics for Orange County California that break down the number of reported dog bites and attacks by breed.  Learn about the characteristics of the breed(s) you are considering, and give careful consideration to the size of your home, the neighborhood you live within and the number and age of the children who reside in your home.

Even the friendliest dog may bite when startled or surprised. Be cautious; once a child is scarred they are scarred for life,” said Gregory R. D. Evans, MD, FACS, president of the ASRM. “Most children love dogs and like to put their faces up close to the dog’s face. Parents should never permit this. Injuries to the face and hands can be disfiguring or disabling and require prompt, expert medical attention.

Medical experts recommend the following strategies to protect your child from a dog bite or attack:

  1. Teach children not to bother a dog if it is eating, sleeping or caring for their puppies
  2. Never, under any circumstances, leave a baby or young child alone with any dog
  3. Teach children how to safely interact with a dog they meet. Suggestions include taking a moment to see if the dog and their owner look friendly. If so, ask the dog owner for permission to pet the dog. The dog owner and the parent should carefully supervise the interaction, allowing the dog to smell the child prior to contact.
  4. Instruct children to pet a dog gently, avoiding the animal’s face, head and tail
  5. Teach children not to run past a dog, and to allow a wide berth greater than the length of the animal’s leash
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