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Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on March 17th, 2011,
by Zane Cagle

Safety Tips for Children and Pets in St. Louis, MO

Posted on March 17th, 2011 by Zane Cagle

There are more than 4.7 million dog bite victims annually over a decade in the US in a recent study done by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA). There are currently 74.8 million dogs in the USSA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (CDC) found that dogs bite nearly 2% of the U.S. Population which involves more than 4.7 million victims. Almost 800,000 bites per year are serious enough to require medical attention. Dog bites send nearly 1,008 victims to the hospital emergency room per day. The number of Americans who have been hospitalized went up 86% in the past 16 years. The greatest numbers of victims are children under the age of 16.

With staggering statistics regarding dog bites to children, the ASPCA makes several recommendations regarding physical safety, toy safety, mutual respect, play dates, responsibility and general rules. Concerning your child and a pet, it is important to follow these guidelines whether the pet is new or whether the child has known the pet for some time.

Physical Safety:

*Teach your child to ready your pet’s body language and identify signs that your pet wants to be left alone. In order to learn more about your pet’s body language, the ASPCA offers websites where you can find articles such as “Canine Body Language”

*Teach your child how to protect himself from an overexcited pet by demonstrating the basics of dog bite prevention such as rolling into a ball, protecting hands and face, rather than running and screaming if attacked by a dog

*Teach your dog to respond to the word “stop” and encourage your child to practice using the word when appropriate with the dog

*Don’t let your child’s friends bring their pets into your home without adult supervision; dogs are usually not as safe or comfortable in unfamiliar settings

Toy Safety:

*Don’t let your pet play with your child’s toys and the reverse is true.

*Avoid giving children or pets balloons as the popping may frighten the pet and the child may choke on the popped balloon if chewed

Mutual Respect:

*Establish that the pet has a right to end a play session just as the child has the right to do so

*Teach your child to leave the pet alone when he/she retreats to crate or bed that you have designated as a safe place


*Reasonable consequences should be implemented when a child neglects his pet-care chores.

*Never threaten to get rid of a pet if your child fails to completed pet cores as children may stop caring about a pet if they keep feeling vulnerable to possible loss

Play Dates:

*To help your child and pet develop a positive relationship, plan fun games and activities that produce positive results for all

General Rules:

*When child and pet are first getting to know one another, choose games that require your child to rely on words and toys rather than on physical contact with your pet. This minimizes the risk your child or pet with accidentally injure one another due to over excitement

* Teach both your child and pet the rules of the game, helping each to have positive, controlled interactions with each other

*Show your child that he can get your pet to listen by using rewards. This will reduce feelings of child’s frustration

*If either the child or pet gets upset during play, a brief time-out is effective for both children and animals. Establish safe areas where your child and pet can spend time by themselves, separately, for a brief period. For pets, 30-60 seconds is a reasonable time. And the general rule is one minute for every year of age for the child

Parents can work at building a safe relationship between their children and pets in order to eliminate dog bites within the home. Most dog bites occur with an animal that does not reside in the home due to unfamiliarity or pet feeling protective of his family of people or space.

This attorney has blogged previously about safety tips to avoid dog bites in public areas. Pet owners are generally required to have their pet leashed when in public and have restraints that keeps the pet from running freely. When a dog does bite someone, the owner is most generally liable for the injury. It is important to first seek medical care then contact a St. Louis personal injury attorney such as Zane T. Cagle of The Cagle Law Firm as he has extensive experience in representing dog bite victims. In any dog bite situation, not only is the initial injury important and the need for first aid and treatment for basic healing, but injures frequently require future surgeries and treatment to minimize scaring. Facial dog bites are particularly gruesome.

If you have been bitten by a dog in Missouri or Illinois, contact Zane T. Cagle at 1(314) 276-1681 for your free consultation to determine if you have a personal injury or wrongful death claim.