Each year, about 13,000 people attend hospital emergency departments in Australia for dog bite injuries. Children under the age of five are most at risk, and are most frequently bitten by their own family dog or by a friend’s dog, usually in or around the home.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Safety Centre, Melbourne has tackled this issue by creating a program to prevent dog bites and promote socially responsible dog ownership.
The RCH Dogs and Kids program consists of an educational website and a downloadable flyer with key messages, which is available in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi and Vietnamese as well as English. Hardcopies of the flyer are also available by contacting the Safety Centre.
The website outlines the benefits of pet ownership in terms of child development, health and family harmony as well as discussing the risks of dog bite and practical ways to minimise risk, such as teaching children not to disturb a dog that is sleeping or eating.
There is a section for owners on their responsibilities and tips for health care practitioners on what they can do to help minimise the risk of dog bites.
The Dogs and Kids program, which began in 1997, was one of the first Australian initiatives to address injuries to small children from dogs.
Click here to view the website.
Download the poster here.
Or contact the RCH Safety Centre via firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 9345 5085