The Kennel Club, the UK's largest organisation dedicated to
responsible dog ownership, has called for greater awareness about
child safety around dogs following the release of figures showing
that 17% of incidents involving dogs happen to children under 10
The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has
announced figures that show under 10's accounting for the highest
rate of admissions per age group for strikes and bites from dogs
over the past 12 months. The Kennel Club is urging parents and
teachers to communicate with children about safety around dogs with
help from the Kennel Club's Safe And Sound scheme.
The HSCIC figures also show that 24% of incidents involving dogs
involve people between the ages of 20 and 39, the age groups most
likely to have young children, indicating that parents themselves
may not know the safest and most responsible ways to interact with
The Safe And Sound scheme has been specially created by experts at
the Kennel Club to educate parents, children and teachers about the
correct ways to behave around dogs. As well as teacher's notes and
literature, the scheme includes a fun online game called the Safety
Factor Challenge to engage children on this important issue.
The Safety Factor Challenge takes children through a number of
scenarios and asks what they would do in each - such as if a dog is
in a child's way and eating its dinner, the game then asks the
child what they should do. Here it is not unusual for children to
think that moving the dog is a good idea; however the game shows
the possible negative reaction a child could get if they chose this
option and instead are advised to wait for the dog to finish its
HSCIC has revealed that of the 6,740 admissions to hospital for
dog strike and bite injuries, 1,160 involved a child under the age
of 10. The Kennel Club believes that with better communication with
children about appropriate behaviour around dogs, as well as
parents themselves knowing how to best interact with dogs,
canine-related hospital admission figures could be dramatically
reduced. Dog owners should also ensure that their pets are as
well trained and socialised as possible, and have met and
interacted with a range of people of different ages as a puppy to
help minimise the chance of any incidents occurring.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: "These incidents,
whether it be a child falling over the family pet and injuring
themselves, or a child being nipped by an unfamiliar dog, are
alarming but largely avoidable with the right precautions.
"Dogs are a huge part of our lives in Britain and children are
naturally curious and excited to be around them, so it is crucial
that they are taught from an early age how best to interact with
"As we head towards summer, more and more dog owners will be out
walking their pets for longer, so now is the perfect opportunity to
sit down with your child and speak to them about dog safety, and
using the tips and game available through the Kennel Club's Safe
and Sound Scheme, have some fun at the same time."
The Safe And Sound Scheme is available online by visiting www.safetyarounddogs.org.uk.