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Beware the Bite! Dog Bite Prevention Tips from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

More than 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year -- most of them children. To address this public health concern, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) launched "Beware the Bite," a national dog bite prevention campaign.

To Prevent Dog Bites:

* Never leave infants or children alone with a dog.

* Follow leash laws.

* Do not play aggressive games with your dog.

* Keep your dog healthy - an unnoticed injury can make a dog aggressive.

* Do not let dogs run loose - a dog is less likely to bite if its owners train it to interact with people and take it to obedience classes.

* Always supervise children when they are playing with dogs.

Teach Children to:

* Ask permission from a dog's owner before petting the animal.

* Never approach an unfamiliar dog.

* Drop to the ground, curl into a ball and cover their head and face with their arms if a dog knocks them over.

* Never disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping or caring for puppies.

* Never tease or play too rough with a dog.

* Never play with a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.

If a Child is Attacked by a Dog:

* Place something between him or her and the dog, such as a jacket or purse.

* Try to loosen its grip by pushing your arm against its throat.

* If the child is bitten, control the bleeding and wash with soap and water. Get medical help immediately to determine the risk of infection for rabies.

Children who are attacked by dogs are frequently bitten on the face. Any bite to the face can result in severe lacerations, infection or disability. If a child suffers a serious dog bite that may cause scarring, parents should ask for a physician certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. For more information, call ASPS at (847) 228-9900. ASPS, founded in 1931, represents physicians certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. To find out more about Dog Bite prevention visit

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