This week a public awareness programme is being launched in Sunderland to raise awareness of how people can stay safe around dogs. 

A range of activities will provide information for carers, parents, health professionals and the general public. This information will give tips on how babies, children and youngsters can be kept safe both inside and outside the home.

The programme – entitled Be Dog Smart – is being undertaken by Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board with support from Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog charity.

Be Dog Smart is kicking off this week with leaflets and posters from Dogs Trust being distributed to schools, children’s centres and GPs’ surgeries.

The posters and leaflets cover topics such as:

  • Staying safe around dogs when at home and when out and about
  • The signs that tell you if a dog is angry or stressed
  • What to do if a dog jumps up at you or approaches you
  • Advice for expectant parents on preparing their pets for their baby’s arrival

In addition to the leaflet campaign, there will be workshops aimed at professionals such as midwives and health visitors. Schools can sign up for workshops and assemblies aimed at raising dog awareness among children.

The head of education at Dogs Trust, Hollie Sevenoaks, said, “Be Dog Smart is a vital safety programme helping dogs and children live harmoniously together.”

“Our team of education officers deliver hundreds of workshops in schools across Great Britain every year, including in the Sunderland area.”

“It is so important that children and parents learn how to safely interact with dogs so we are pleased to support this safety initiative by Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board.”

The independent chair of Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board, Sir Paul Ennals, said, “Dogs Trust runs a successful Be Dog Smart programme in schools across the country so we have enlisted the help of the charity to help us get the message across about dog safety around babies and young children.”

“Many of us will have grown up with a dog as a family pet and see them very much as being part of the family. But it’s important that families are also aware of how they can teach children to act responsibly around dogs and the importance of supervising dogs around babies and children.”

“Whilst attacks on children are thankfully exceptionally rare, there are some very basic steps that we can all take to help parents, babies, children and dogs live together safely and happily.”

“The number one message we want to get across is that you should never leave a baby or young child alone with a dog.”

To learn more and for details about workshops, please visit

(The featured image shows Sir Paul Ennals with Alison Gray from Dogs Trust, health visitors, and staff from Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board at a workshop in Hendon.)

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