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Petting zoos are popular with kids – and germs

Posted 3/1/2017 by UHBlog

There are few sights more adorable than watching your little one snuggle that cute baby chick at a petting zoo. But animals – even healthy ones – shed a variety of bacteria that can be toxic to your toddler. That includes a specific kind of E. coli, which can cause serious illness, such as diarrhea, in young children. Here’s how to enjoy petting zoos safely:

Petting zoos are popular with kids – and germs
  • Look, but don’t pet. Chicks aren’t the only potential source of infection. You should also avoid touching young cows, all reptiles and amphibians, and any animals that appear to have diarrhea.
  • Leave baby items in the stroller. To avoid infection, don’t bring children’s pacifiers, bottles, sippy cups or toys into any of the animal areas.
  • Eat elsewhere. Enjoy food and drinks only in animal-free areas.
  • Wash hands thoroughly. Reputable petting zoos should have hand-washing stations at the exits. Be sure to use them.

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