Child/Dog Safety

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Dogs and children can be the best or the worst combination.

Timmy and Lassie are a myth... Lassie had extensive training and was worked off screen by handlers. He (yes, the dog playing Lassie is a male) responds to cues given by his trainer and handlers. Timmy is an actor. Lassie is just a series of TV shows and movies. Lassie is NOT reality. Reality is the average dog and child are under trained and socialized to each other. Reality is many dog bites are preventable with a bit of education for the child, parent and dog owner. Reality is that any dog regardless of breed or cross as the potential to bite. Reality is there is no 100% safe breed of dog.

According to the CDC, (Centers for Disease Control) dog bites each year in the US are responsible for close to 4.7 Million injuries, 800,000 injuries requiring medical care, 17 deaths and about 914 hospital emergency room visits per day.

According to the CDC, the odds of a dog bite victim being a child are 3.2 to 1 and the majority of bites occur at the family home or in a familiar place. Dog bites are the second most commonly seen injury to children in hospital emergency rooms after only baseball/softball injuries. (source, Journal of the American Medical Association and

Dogs generally do not become aggressive or biters overnight unless there is an underlying medical condition. Often, there are warning signs long before a tragedy occurs. Also, children may instigate bites or behave in manners around dogs that encourage bites. Many times, bites in children are a combination of: children not knowing puppy/dog safety; improper or nonexistent socializing and training of puppies/dogs; improper supervision and families inadvertently teaching that biting - even in play - is acceptable.

In 2001, Karen decided to begin offering a program to schools, youth organizations, 4-H clubs, Scouts, Dog Clubs, parenting groups, etc., to teach about increasing child/dog safety.   Hence The Safe Kids/Safe Dogs Project was born.  In 2003, the project received a grant from the Virginia Department of Health's Center for Injury and Violence Prevention and in 2004, some of her works were requested to help create a safety handout by the VADH-CIVP.

Covered in the program are such topics as: safer games with dogs, a child's role in a dogs behavior, why training and socializing a dog is important, what to do if you see a stray, how a dog should be approached, when you should not approach a dog and what to do if a dog threatens. However, the program will be adapted to fit the needs of the individual group.

For more information on child and dog safety, please visit: The Safe Kids/Safe Dogs Project




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