BANNING dangerous dog breeds would not prevent dog bites, but teaching children to be more canine savvy could curb injuries, according to a group of Australian health professionals.
An editorial in the Medical Journal of Australia advocates obedience training and education for owners and children, including a primary-school program.
Lead author University of Queensland paediatric surgery professor Roy Kimble said educating children about how to interact with dogs in primary schools had been successful in the US.
The article said banning dangerous dog breeds had been unsuccessful in reducing dog bites overseas.
"Breed-specific legislation fails to take into account that any breed of dog can be dangerous in the hands of an irresponsible owner who fails to provide good and early training," the article said.
Prof Kimble said breed identification might not be accurate because it was rarely documented in the patient's record and it relied on the correct identification by witnesses or family.
It comes just days after the Federal Government asked attorneys-general to consider adopting new dog laws in a push for a nationally consistent approach.
Victoria introduced tough new dangerous-dog laws after the death of Ayen Chol, 4, in August. Restricted breeds have to be registered or face seizure and destruction and owners can face up to 10 years in jail.
State Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said he strongly disagreed that dangerous-dog breed laws would not lead to a reduction in attacks. He also said the Government already ran pet-safety education programs.
Kidsafe Victoria president Robert Caulfield said children were not mature enough, and lacked the awareness and reflexes to respond in a split-second situation.
"I don't think it would work. It almost suggests that the owners of the dogs are let off the hook," Mr Caulfield said.
Read more: Dangerous dog breed bans won't stop bites say health professionals | News.com.au