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Pets and children

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Updated: 8/12/2003 12:11 am
Some family daycare homes have pets. Before hiring a caregiver with animals, ask to see the pets' current shot records, and discuss how much contact your child will have with them. Regardless of how even-tempered or friendly an animal is, small children can inadvertently hurt a pet, causing it to respond instinctively. By educating your child to move slowly and speak softly around animals, you may be able to avoid any mishaps. Allergies can also be a concern. Before hiring a caregiver, let your child spend time in the home, around the animal. If an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, watery eyes, or hives occurs, it's a good idea to hire a different caregiver. Be aware that even keeping the pet out of the house while your child is there will probably still cause allergic reactions. Most allergic responses are from the dander of animals, rather than the actual animal itself. This dander is shed into carpets and furniture daily, and remains there until removed with a high powered vacuum system. If your daycare center has a gerbil, bird or other pet, you should know state regulations sometimes allow classroom pets in daycare facilities, as long as all veterinarian recommended shots are documented.

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