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To Place or Not to Place?

New report claims rodents, lizards, young children don’t mix

New report claims rodents, lizards, young children don’t mix

Households with children younger than 5 should not keep hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rats, hedgehogs, or other rodents, according to a report in the October 2008 issue (Vol. 122, No. 4) of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ medical journal.

Families with young children should also refrain from owning exotic animals, reptiles, amphibians, ferrets, and baby chicks or ducklings, the AAP says, citing the risk of disease.

Drawing on previous research, the report notes that infections are often transmitted by household pets or animals that children encounter in public settings such as pet stores and petting zoos. Children younger than 5 are at the greatest risk because they have “less-than-optimal hygiene practices,” curiosity about animals, and developing immune systems. Also, infections tend to be more severe at that age.

 Read the full article.

 

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