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Children, Mail Carriers at High Risk for Dog Bites

With summer here we are reminded that some victims of dog bites seem to have it much harder than others. Children below the age of five, and postal workers are at a much higher risk of dog bites, especially during summer days.

During summer, dogs are much more likely to be out with their owners, or may be left off their leash, and that places postal workers at a much higher risk of bites. National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which this year was marked in the third week of May, focused specifically on educating people about the risks of dog bites. The U.S. Postal Service estimates that more than 5,500 postal employees suffered bites in 2013.

Children are also frequently injured during summer because they are out of school, and may be in playgrounds, parks or other places where dogs are being walked. Children are also much more likely to pet strange dogs, or to display other behavior that could be risky, and could lead to an attack.

Apart from children and postal workers, the elderly are also a very high risk group for dog bites.

Most dog bites result in minor injuries, but a significant number of them every year result in injuries that are serious enough to require hospitalization, extensive medical treatment and plastic surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2013, doctors performed more than 26,000 reconstructive procedures to treat injuries that had been caused by dog bites.

If you have a dog, prevent an attack involving your animal this summer. Ensure that your animal is safely restrained, especially during those times of the day when mail workers visit your home to deliver mail. Post warning signs to postal workers about the presence of an animal on the property. If you’re out with your dog, always use a leash.  If you have a child, educate him or her about the safe ways of interacting with animals. Children must never be allowed to pet or touch strange dogs.