Dogs have the potential to be extremely dangerous—especially for children. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that more than four million people are attacked by dogs nationwide each year—with children being both more likely to be bitten and more likely to be seriously injured. As a parent, you should make a proactive effort to protect your kids—especially very young ones—from the risk posed by dogs. Here, our Oklahoma City dog bite attorney offers tips that you can use to help keep your child safe from a dangerous dog. 

Four Safety Tips to Protect Your Children from Dog Bites in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is a dog-friendly place. The pet insurance company PawlicyAdvisor estimates that 47.7 percent of households in Oklahoma have at least one dog—which is one of the highest rates of any U.S. state. Dogs can be great companions for kids. At the same time, they can also pose very serious safety risks. Here are four tips parents can use to protect their children from dog bites: 

  • Teach Your Children Safe Behaviors Around Dogs: The first and most critical step is to educate your children on how to act safely around dogs. Age-appropriate dog safety training is a must. Even if you do not have a dog, the reality is that many other people do. Your kids will come across many dogs. You should explain to them that not all dogs are the same and that they should always be gentle and calm around them. You should also teach them never to approach a dog suddenly or from behind, as this can startle the animal. Finally, kids must learn to ask for permission from the dog’s owner before touching or petting any dog.
  • Never Leave Young Kids Alone With a Dog: No matter how trustworthy a dog might seem, it is essential never to leave young children alone with a dog. Even the most gentle dogs can react unpredictably if they are hurt or frightened by sudden movements or loud noises, which are common with small kids. Always supervise interactions between your children and dogs to ensure everyone’s safety. Vigilance is crucial. 
  • Be Especially Very Careful Around Unknown Dogs: Parents should always exercise additional caution around dogs their children do not know. Teach your children to be particularly mindful of unknown dogs. They should never approach, touch, or feed dogs they are not familiar with—even if the dog appears friendly. Remind them to keep a safe distance from dogs behind fences, in cars, or that they come across while walking down the street.
  • Educate Your Children on Dog Body Language: Although a little more complex for kids, you should always educate your children on dog body language. While it can and does happen, most dog bites do not come out of nowhere. Dogs typically display warning signs—growling, baring teeth, stiff body posture, a tucked tail, etc.—that indicate that they are unhappy or uncomfortable. Children are unlikely to be bitten if they know what a dog is signaling. 

Know Your Rights: Dog Bite Claims in Oklahoma

The unfortunate reality is that you can do everything right as a parent, and your child could still be bitten by a dangerous dog. You and your family have rights. Under Oklahoma law (Oklahoma Statutes § 4-42.1), a strict liability standard is used for dog bite claims. When it comes to dog bites, a dog’s owner can be held liable if their dog bites someone—regardless of whether the owner knew the dog had a tendency to bite. You do not need to prove that a dog owner was negligent to hold them responsible for biting your child. Other parties—including apartment complexes and dog daycare facilities—may also be liable for a dog bite on the grounds of negligence. If your child was attacked by a dog, an experienced Oklahoma City dog bite lawyer can help you take action to secure full and fair financial compensation for your child’s damages. 

Get Help From a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer in Oklahoma City

At McGuire Law Firm, our Oklahoma City dog bite accident attorneys are skilled, experienced, and justice-focused advocates for victims and families. If your child was attacked by a dog, we are here to help. Call us now or connect with us online to set up your no-cost, no-commitment case review. From our office in Oklahoma City, we represent dog bite victims throughout Oklahoma.