The Kennel Club is raising awareness of child safety around dogs and offering parents and carers advice to coincide with the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s ‘Child Safety Week’ which begins today.
The Kennel Club, the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to responsible dog ownership, runs the Safe and Sound scheme, a programme created by experts to educate parents, teachers and children on the correct and safe ways to behave around dogs. Founded in 2003, the free online resource teaches children how to interact with dogs, including recognising when they are at risk of being bitten, as well as highlighting some of the many benefits of spending time with dogs.
In recent years, statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre have shown that children under the age of 10 account for the highest rate of hospital admissions per age group for strikes and bites from dogs. The figures also show that the highest number of incidents between children and dogs happen during summer. The Kennel Club is therefore encouraging parents and teachers to talk to children about safety around dogs and suggests using the Safe and Sound scheme as a fun resource to help children learn.
The scheme includes an entertaining online game, the Safety Factor Challenge, which takes children through a number of scenarios and asks what they would do in each, teaching resources designed to complement the primary education national curriculum, and informative posters to be displayed in schools, clubs or at home. To date more than five million children and adults have used the scheme.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “Dogs are a huge part of our lives 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 them.
“As we head towards summer, dogs will be exposed to a lot more people for longer periods of time at barbecues, parties and other seasonal events, and children will often have more frequent contact with pets whilst they are at home for the school holidays. This increases the risk of incidents occurring if children do not know how to interact safely with dogs. Now is therefore the perfect opportunity for parents to sit down with their children and speak to them about dog safety, using the resources available through the Kennel Club’s Safe and Sound scheme. This could make the difference between a happy and carefree summer and a trip to A&E.
“Dog owners also have a role to play and should always make sure that their pets have been well trained and socialised to help minimise the chance of any incidents occurring.”