Part of the responsibility of parenthood includes keeping children safe and healthy. Taking them to regular health checkups, staying up to date on vaccines, and keeping them out of harm’s way. Oftentimes something parents forget about is keeping their kids safe around animals.
There are many benefits of being around animals for all humans but it is important to remember that animals can have unpredictable behavior and carry germs. Children under the age of five years old are more likely to get sick from the germs of animals. This is because they touch many surfaces and then put their hands in their mouths. Children’s objects such as toys or pacifiers may fall on dirty surfaces and then be put in their mouths. They can pick up many germs this way. Children’s immune systems are still developing and they can get serious illnesses from germs that animals carry. The good news is that there are ways to help prevent sickness and injury while your children enjoy animals. Follow these steps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
1. Always Supervise Children Around Animals
Animals can sometimes have unpredictable behavior. It is important to ensure that any animals you have around your children have a reputation and history of good behavior around children. Even if an animal is good with children, make sure to always supervise children around animals. Keep children away from animals while they are eating to prevent the risk of bites.
2. Do Not Allow Children to Kiss Animals
Animals carry germs and allowing kids to kiss animals can easily transfer those germs into your child’s mouth and get them sick. Teach your kids to not kiss animals.
3. Do Not Allow Children to Put Their Hands or Other Objects into Their Mouths After Being with Animals
Teach kids to not put their hands or other objects into their mouths after being with animals to prevent the spread of germs.
4. Wash Children’s Hands After Touching, Feeding, or Caring for Animals
Always have kids wash their hands after touching, feeding, or caring for an animal. Young children are less likely to thoroughly wash their hands, so supervise them while they wash up to make sure they wash well.
5. Kids Should Avoid These Types of Animals
Since children are more likely to get severe illnesses from germs that animals may carry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children under the age of five years old avoid the following types of animals: Reptiles, Amphibians, Backyard Poultry, and Rodents.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, January 28). Infants and young children. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 23, 2022