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How to Protect Your Young Kids from Dog Bites (A Guide for Parents)

While they can be wonderful companions, dogs also pose a significant safety risk to children—especially those under the age of five. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. The AVMA finds that “children are the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.”

At Ladah Law Firm, our firm is committed to protecting the rights of injured victims and their families. With extensive experience handling dog bite cases, we know the best approach is to prevent them before they happen. Here, our Las Vegas dog bite lawyers provide tips you can use to help keep your kids safe and explain your options if your child is attacked by a dangerous dog. 

Three Tips to Prevent Your Child from Being Bitten By a Dog

  1. Do Not Leave a Young Child Unsupervised With a Dog

The first tip is both simple and extremely important: Never leave a young child alone with a dog. It is best to avoid leaving young kids—especially those who are five years of age and under—with any dog, including a trusted family pet. When adults are around, they can spot signs of distress or discomfort in the dog that children might not notice. Remember, dogs communicate through body language, and what might seem like playful behavior to a child could be a sign of anxiety or fear in a dog. Play it safe. Even a “warning bite” from a dog could cause serious harm to a young child. 

  1. Teach Your Kids the Basics of Good Dog Etiquette (Age Appropriate) 

Children are naturally curious and love to explore with their hands. Most kids also instinctively like dogs. However, when it comes to interacting with dogs, young kids may lack the skills. They often think about dogs like cartoon characters. Teaching your child good dog etiquette is crucial. Explain that they should never pull a dog’s tail, ears, or fur. Further, make sure that kids know that they should avoid disturbing dogs that are eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies. Show them how to gently offer their hand for a dog to sniff before petting it. Remember, these lessons should be age-appropriate. Young children might not be able to grasp all of the concepts at first. 

  1. Make Sure Your Kids Know to Get Permission Before Approaching an Unknown Dog

Imagine that you are like one of the nearly 50 percent of households in Nevada that has a family dog. If your family dog is very gentle and sociable around children, you young kinds may start to assume that all dogs are that way. With this in mind, it is crucial that you teach your child always to ask for permission before approaching an unknown dog. They should never try to pet a dog that they pass on the street or in the neighborhood without getting express permission from that dog’s owner. Of course, even if they get that owner’s permission, you may still want to avoid letting your child interact with an unknown dog. Regardless, young children should never pet, grab, touch, or quickly approach an unfamiliar dog without the permission of that dog’s owner. 

What to Do If Your Child is Bitten By a Dog in Las Vegas

Parenting can be challenging. As a parent, you can do everything right to protect your kids from the risk posed by dogs and something could still go wrong. Here are three key steps to take if your child is attacked by a dog in Las Vegas: 

  1. Ensure Your Child Gets Immediate Medical Care: All child dog bite injuries require the proper medical attention. If a dog bite punctures the skin, there is the risk that a serious infection could occur. Your child’s medical needs should always take the top priority. Be sure that he or she gets immediate medical attention after being bitten by a dog. 
  2. Document the Incident and Notify the Owner: Dog bite injury claims are fault-based legal cases. A dog owner in Nevada is not automatically liable for a dog bite—even if a child is bitten. With this in mind, it is crucial that parents document the incident in question. Key documentation includes writing down about what happened, where it happened, and how it happened. Make sure you understand exactly what happened. You should also notify the dog owner that their animal bit your child. 
  3. Consult With a Las Vegas Dog Bite Attorney: Dog bite claims are notoriously complex. Unlike many other U.S. states, Nevada does not have a strictly liability statute for dog bite injury. Instead, these claims are negligence claims. You will generally need to establish that the dog owner—or other defendant, such as an apartment complex—knew or should have known about the risk posed by the dog and failed to take the proper care. Most dog bite injury cases are handled by insurance companies. These insurers do not have the best interests of victims or families at heart. You should always work with insurance adjusters through an experienced Las Vegas, NV dog bite injury lawyer. 

As a parent, you have the right to bring a legal claim on behalf of an injured child. Through a dog bite claim, your family may be entitled to recover financial compensation for medical bills, your child’s pain and suffering, and other damages. A Las Vegas dog bite lawyer will protect your rights. 

Contact Our Las Vegas Dog Bite Injury Lawyers for a Free Case Review

At Ladah Law Firm, our Las Vegas dog bite attorneys have the professional expertise that you can trust. If your child was bitten by a dog, we are here as a legal resource. Call us at (702) 252-0055 or contact us online to set up your no cost, no obligation initial appointment. With a legal office in Las Vegas, we handle dog bite claims in Clark County and throughout Southern Nevada.