Dr. Hans-Ulrich Neumann
Specialist in paediatrics and adolescent medicine in Hamburg
Many pets are very tolerant to young children. But it is still important to know that there are dangers and therefore precautions should be taken to avoid these hazards, especially if your baby is crawling and walking.
If your baby is small, it is usually easy to keep the baby and pets away from each other. The pets should not stay in the room where the baby sleeps. Stretch a net over the stroller or cart so the cat can not sit on your baby's face when sleeping outside.
Dogs must always be watched when babies or children are near them. Even the most patient dog sometimes feels uncomfortable or has a bad mood. Most cats just run away when they are annoyed or hurt by a child, but some scratch and bite as well. It may come in handy if you attach a safety lock to separate your pets and your children, at least for some time. These facilities can also keep your baby away from the food bowl or litter box.
Make sure your vet that the animals have made the necessary worming. Never leave worm tablets or other medicines for your animals within reach of your baby. If your pet is free to move in the garden, then you should see if everything is clean before you bring your baby there. You could also separate the garden so that there is a safe corner for your baby and one separate for your pet.Curious babies have already managed to get through the cat flap in the garden. Therefore you should keep it closed when your baby is around.
If you have small children for whom you would like to purchase a pet, then find out in advance which animal is eligible. Even though rabbits are so fluffy, they are not suitable as cuddly toys. They prefer to live as a couple (or more) in an inner or outer enclosure of at least four square meters. Even guinea pigs do not like to be alone and do not feel well in a noisy nursery. But under your guidance, your children can learn to take care of them.
If you decide on a dog, find out in advance which breeds are particularly fond of children and suitable as family dogs.