How to Keep Kids Safe Around Animal Exhibits
Summer is a great time for close encounters of the animal kind, whether at a petting zoo, a local fair or an aquarium. But parents may wonder just how safe their families are when reaching out to touch an animal at an exhibit. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the following advice for maximum safety and enjoyment around animal exhibits:

ē Keep an eye on your kids, especially if they are under age 5. Make sure that children never put things in their mouth (such as hands or pacifiers) while they are touching or playing with animals. Children should wash their hands after visiting an animal exhibit.

ē Food and animals donít mix. Leave all food and drink outside of areas where there are animals. Sharing your food with animals risks both their health and yours, so donít do it. Also avoid drinking unpasteurized dairy products if any are offered at a particular animal location.

ē Wash your hands. Find out where the nearest hand-washing station is. Make sure that everyone in your family washes hands, ideally with soap and hot running water, after touching animal enclosures or the animals themselves. In a pinch, antibacterial hand gels will also work.

Obviously, if signs direct you not to pet or touch an animal, donít do it. The animal could be frightened or aggressive and may bite if touched. For additional summer safety information, check out our Summer Safety Survival Guide.