Halloween is a fun holiday for most children, complete with costumes, trick-or-treating with friends and family, and, most importantly, candy. However, the holiday also carries significant potential for danger to children. One common cause of injury on Halloween is a bite injury inflicted by a dog who becomes spooked after seeing little ghouls, goblins, and Sponge Bob Square Pants ringing his doorbell all night.
Every year, approximately 4.7 million people are on the receiving end of dog bites in the U.S. About 400,000 children seek medical treatment for dog bites each year, and it is estimated that half of all children will be bitten by a dog before the age of 12. These injuries are more common on nights such as Halloween, when even the calmest of dogs can get excited and scared by all of the unusual noise and activity.
Here are a few tips to keep children safe from dog bite injuries this Halloween.
Remind children that they should look but not touch when they come across strange dogs. If they want to pet the pup, they must get permission from the person that knows the dog best. An adult should always closely supervise any interaction between a child and a dog.
If you are the dog owner, you might want to consider keeping your pet away from the action entirely. Dogs are easily spooked by the constant ringing of the doorbell, and they may become extra-protective of you and your home when there are strange people (in strange costumes) at the front door. You may want to put your dog in a separate room during the trick-or-treating hours.
If both parents and dog owners are extra vigilant this Halloween, both children and pets should make it through the night without incident.
Source: Paw Nation, "9 Tips to Prevent Dog Bites on Halloween," Amy Shojal, Oct. 24, 2011