JoAnna Lou
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Bite Prevention Ed Needed
Study finds kids need to learn how to prevent bites

When my therapy dog, Nemo, visits the library for the reading program, the kids always seem to go right for the tail. Nemo is very forgiving and patient, but I always use it as an opportunity to teach them the right way to approach and pet a dog.

A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that dog bite prevention knowledge is poor in children. The researchers surveyed 300 five- to 15-year-olds with dog bites and their parents at a pediatric emergency room. The child-parents pairs completed a survey and a test that evaluated their knowledge in dog bite prevention.

Forty-three percent of children failed the knowledge test, with older kids having a higher passing rate. More than 70 percent of the children never received formal dog bite prevention education, although 88 percent of parents wanted it for their kids.

Animal bites are the second most common reason for kids seeking medical care and the effects reach far beyond the initial injury. Over half of children who've been bitten have shown evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder one month after the injury.

It's clear that there's a need and hopefully this study will encourage schools and youth groups to incorporate formal dog bite prevention education into their programs.

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by Roy JH Tan/flickr.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Stephanie Calmenson | February 14 2012 |

I hope parents and educators will consider using my book and/or award winning video, MAY I PET YOUR DOG? The How-to Guide for KIDS Meeting DOGS (and DOGS Meeting KIDS) to teach kids how to meet dogs safely and become friends to dogs.

As reviewed in BARK, "The narration is from the point of view of Harry, a real long-haired, dappled Dachshund…Calmenson, the author of one of my all-time-favorite dog books for children, Rosie, A Visiting Dog’s Story, concludes with a roundup of practical tips…as well as some important advice: Remember, dogs have feelings too.”

To read more reviews: http://stephaniecalmenson.com/reviews.html#mayIpet

To "meet" Harry: http://stephaniecalmenson.com/harry.html

Submitted by Angela | May 16 2012 |

This is an interesting study, but they set it up to find certain results with the way they selected their subjects. It just makes sense that kids who have already been bitten are likely to not be very knowledgeable about how to avoid bites.

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