This year during American Veterinary Medical Association’s Dog Bite Prevention Week, American Humane encourages adults to teach children how to avoid dog bites through humane education. Every year in the U.S., 3.5 million children are bitten by dogs, and it is estimated that by age 12, half of all children in this country will experience a dog bite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To address this problem, American Humane has created a program called “American Humane KIDS: Kids Interacting with Dogs Safely,” a unique, first-of-its-kind dog-bite prevention program designed for children ages 4 to 7.
“We designed the program to fill the critical need for a dog-bite prevention effort for younger children, ages 4 to 7,” said Jane Greco Deming, director of humane education for American Humane. “Most programs are designed for children over 8, but those who are younger than 7 are most likely to experience severe injuries to the face, head and neck.”
The American Humane KIDS program does not frighten children, but instead teaches them consideration for dogs' feelings in certain situations. For example, a KIDS teacher might ask, “How do you think Fluffy feels when Haiden is pulling on his tail?” This approach will tap into children’s instinctual sense of empathy in a way that is easy for them to grasp at a young age.
The KIDS curriculum meets national standards of education while providing character lessons. It includes games, activities, worksheets, songs, a coloring book and a live-action DVD. The coloring book reinforces the lessons with situations in which young children may encounter dogs and provides guidance on what they should do. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org/kids.
To prevent dog bites, adults should teach children:
- Never approach an unknown dog or a dog that is alone without an owner, and always ask the owner’s permission before petting the dog.
- Never approach an injured animal — go find an adult who can get it the help it needs.
- Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping, nursing or has something it likes, such as a bone or toy.
- Don’t poke, hit, pull, pinch or tease a dog — the dog may not realize you’re just playing.
- Don’t chase or run from a dog.
According to the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association, in the United States:
- Every 40 seconds, someone seeks medical attention for a dog-bite-related injury.
- Children under 15 make up approximately 70 percent of all dog-bite victims.
- Almost two-thirds of dog-bite injuries among children age 4 years and younger are to the head or neck region.
About American Humane Association
Since 1877, the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of every major advancement in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty and abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding human-animal interaction and its role in society. As the nation’s voice for the protection of children and animals, American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.