Explore UAB

Youth Safety Lab.

Dog Bite Prevention

  • Dog safety website
  • Girl with dog
  • Toy props
  • Screenshot of “Safe Dogs, Safe Kids” website homepage.

  • Image from a video developed to teach children safety with pet dogs.

  • Toy props used to test children’s simulated behaviors with dogs.

Dogs make wonderful pets that provide loving companionship and joy to millions of children and families. However, all dogs — even those that are well-behaved and well-trained — have the capacity to bite if they are provoked enough.

Young children are still developing cognitive abilities such as impulse control, perspective-taking, and recognition of details. These cognitive skills are essential to safe interaction with pet dogs.

In collaboration with Digital Artefacts, the UAB Youth Safety Lab developed and evaluated an interactive, multi-media website for children that trains their cognitive skills to improve safety with pet dogs. We also have implemented dog bite prevention strategies globally.

Sample Publications

  • Shen, J., Rouse, J., Godbole, M., Wells, H. L., Boppana, S., & Schwebel, D. C. (2017). Interventions to educate children about dog safety and prevent pediatric dog-bite injuries: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 42, 779-791.
  • Schwebel, D. C., Li, P, McClure, L. A., & Severson, J. (2016). Evaluating a website to teach children safety with dogs: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13, 1198.
  • Shen, J., Pang, S., & Schwebel, D. C. (2016). A randomized trial evaluating child dog-bite prevention in rural China through video-based testimonials. Health Psychology, 35, 454-464.
  • Morrongiello, B. A., Schwebel, D. C., Stewart, J., Bell, M., Davis, A. L., & Corbett, M. R. (2013). Examining parents’ behaviors and supervision of their children in the presence of an unfamiliar dog: Does The Blue Dog intervention improve parent practices? Accident Analysis and Prevention, 54, 108-113.
  • Davis, A. L., Schwebel, D. C., Morrongiello, B. A., Stewart, J., & Bell, M. (2012). Dog bite risk: An assessment of child temperament and child-dog interactions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 9, 3002-3013.
  • Schwebel, D. C., Morrongiello, B. A., Davis, A. L., Stewart, J., & Bell, M. (2012). The Blue Dog: Evaluation of an interactive software program to teach young children how to interact safely with dogs. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 37, 272-281.