Recent stats reveal who's bitten by dogs far too often: children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, of the 4.7 million Americans bitten by dogs annually, more than half are children. And many times the dog is one that's familiar to the child.
"Most children love dogs and like to put their face up close to the dog's face. Parents should never permit this. Even the friendliest dog may bite when startled or surprised," says Dr. Michael Neumeister, president of the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (via a USPS press release).
The good news? Reducing the risk for dog bites only requires a few commonsense rules. For babies and toddlers, it's simple. "Don't ever leave a young child unsupervised around any dog, even a dog well-known to your family," says Dr. Robert Block, president of the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP).
The AAP recommends these rules for all families to follow:
Experts also urge all dog owners to do what they can to reduce bites. This includes basic obedience training and keeping dogs on leashes in public places.