“IT CAN only take a second for something to happen, so it’s especially important not to leave children and dogs together unattended.”
That’s the message from Claire Underwood chief nurse at NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Each year, she says, too many incidents of this nature result in serious injuries, and even death; more often than not, they could have been prevented.
There has been a 76 per cent surge in dog attacks in the past few years and this is rising.
This trend is based on hospital admissions alone and well over half – in fact almost two thirds – are on children.
Even with these figures, it is believed that as many as 50 per cent of dog attacks go unreported.
However Claire points out there are also many benefits of owning a pet for families.
Theseinclude encouraging children and parents to get outdoors and exercise while research also shows there are numerous health benefits to having a pet in the home – especially dogs.
Most dogs happily welcome new additions to the family, but precautions must be taken to ensure that the introduction goes as smoothly as possible.
Making sure your dog is well trained and socialised is key, while trying not to upset the dog’s routine too much.
The RSPCA says there are things to bear in mind if you have a dog and a child in the same home:
Never leave babies or children unsupervised, or in the same room alone, with a dog
Avoid bothering dogs when eating
Do not put your face up to the dog’s face
When dogs are sleeping, do not disturb them
Do not grab tails or ears
Try to keep screaming and loud noise to a minimum.