What to Do If a Dog Attacks Your Child

Children are smaller, faster and more excitable than adults, leaving them more vulnerable to dog attacks. Vicious dogs pose a serious threat to the health and safety of your child, so you should instruct your child to deal with strange dogs the same way you tell them to deal with strange people. Unfortunately, teaching your children not to approach strange dogs will not prevent a dog from approaching your child, and some children are too small to understand your instructions.

Steps to take if a Dog Attacks your Child

If a dog attacks your child you will be afraid and may feel panicked, remember to remain in control of the situation. Both the child and the dog will be responding to your behavior. Then take the following steps:

Don’t Move

The most important thing to do when dealing with an aggressive dog is to hold your ground. If you or your child run, the first thing the dog will do is chase. If you act like prey, the animal will behave as if you are prey. Instruct your child calmly and firmly to freeze. It is imperative that you remain calm. If your child detects that you are afraid he or she is likely to become frightened and may run or sit down to cry. This may prompt the dog to attack.

Move Slowly

Do not make any sudden or frantic movements in an attempt to rescue the child. The dog is faster than you and you will not beat him. Instead, move slowly toward the child being sure not to turn your back on the dog. Continue talking firmly but calmly to the child as you do this. Instruct him or her to curl into a ball if the dog attacks to protect his face and vital organs. Pick the child up slowly.

Don’t Be a Threat

Once you have the child turn sideways, shielding the child from the dog. Do not look the dog in the eyes. Keep your arms folded so there is nothing “hanging” for the dog to bite. If the dog approaches, remain still. He may just sniff you in order to determine if you are a threat. Most dogs will back away once they determine that you are not a threat. However, the dog is considering an attack, so do not kick or attempt to hurt the dog or do anything that may seem threatening toward the dog, this will only instigate an attack.

Do Not Pull Away

If the dog attacks or bites you, do the best you can to remain still. Lack of struggle will bore the dog. If your child is already being attacked, instruct him or her to curl into a ball and hold still. Do not attempt to rip your child away from the dog because it can result in more serious injuries.

Fighting Is a Last Resort

If the dog is already attacking the child, pick it up by his back legs and hold him in the air so he cannot pull or shake the child. You can also try pulling a t-shirt over the dog’s head to disorient him. If you have access to a hose or mace, spray the dog. When trying to separate the dog from the child, use a stick or your fingers to jab soft tissue such as the eyes, ears or mouth of the dog.

Lawyers can help with Dog Attacks

Dog attacks can cause serious injuries to a child so do whatever you can to avoid a confrontation with a vicious dog. If injured by a dog, call animal control immediately after seeking medical attention. It is also a good idea to file a police report. Dog owners are sometimes defensive about their pets, so do not try to approach the owner of an unknown dog in person, especially if you were forced to injure the animal to fend off its attack.

If your child has been wounded in a dog attack, you should seek legal advice immediately. Allowing a vicious dog to roam free is a crime and the owner may be responsible for your medical bills or other damages. The lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys are experienced with dog attacks and know what steps to take after the dog attacks and causes an injury to you or your child. Contact us today.

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The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.