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'Keep toddlers from animals' call

(58 Posts)
tryingtobemarypoppins Sat 19-Sep-09 12:59:35

This was on the bbc today news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8264266.stm

I have a bit of a problem as my parents, to whom I am soooooo greatful too, look after my 22 month old twice a week. They are very very out doorsy (sp?) and have a small holding of goats, chickens etc. They also take him to lots of farms etc which is lovely.

I am however really worried about those poor children who have caught E.coli and feel that when advice like the bbc have given today is given, parents should think carefully about following it......

difficult situation......what do you think?

artichokes Sat 19-Sep-09 13:25:02

throughout history and across the world small kids have touched animals. to deprive them of this oppurtunity is, IMO, a crime. We cannot legislate away all risk. We can't ban every activity that might cause harm. If wecdobour kids will have v boring lives.

Godstine farm had poor hygiene. Most farms are fine. There are not outbreaks like this every year - that shows this is an unusual collision of circumstances. If your parents have good cleaning procedures and your son washes his hands after every contact things should be fine.

I speak after watching my niece battle ecoli and related kidney failure this summer. She got it after playing in avfield where cows had grazed. Should we ban playing in fields as well.?

pinkthechaffinch Sat 19-Sep-09 13:27:32

Hmm, not sure really. I wouldn't want to be too over protective of my dc's; they need to be exposed to animals to strenghten their immune systems but at the same time I wouldn't want them to become really ill unnecessarily.

If they were going to one of those family farms, I would take anti-bac hand gel and make them use it after dc's touched animals and befor eating.

cheesesarnie Sat 19-Sep-09 13:31:11

were going to a classic car show tomorrow-if all better-held at play farm.its a good place with anti bac stations set up just about every where.

i live in Cornwall,should i not let dc out in case the field we play in/walk through has been used for infected animals?

just make sure he has his hands washed and take a anti bac thingy in bag incase theres none there.

Itsjustafleshwound Sat 19-Sep-09 13:32:27

My nephew contracted bad Hep A because the person who prepared a salad didn't wash their hands well enough - he was off school for 6 months and will always have liver damage and issues ... do we ban eating salads???

Do we take kids away from farmers??

I suppose it is all down to sensibility ... Horton Country Farm and others had questionable hygiene standards - perhaps it is up to us as parents to take responsibility rather than just having a blanket ban on petting zoos ...

nellie12 Sat 19-Sep-09 13:33:59

under 5's do not need banning from animals. They need to have their hands washed thoroughly after touching them and before touching their mouths.

It is awful for the children and families of them who are ill and certainly it does sound as though those farms had a problem but thousands of children go to farm parks and touch animals every year without falling ill.

PrincessToadstool Sat 19-Sep-09 13:34:28

My 22 month old won't touch things like goats, pigs etc at our local farm, though he loves looking at them. He was a bit scared of the sheep at Odds Farm, but they were very noisy

I think to say they should not touch the animals is a bit extreme, and the comment about this age group being the hardest to get to wash their hands - you what - my DS doesn't wash his hands, I do. I stand him by the sink, turn the tap on, get his hands underneath, put soap on, rinse then properly. Is that not my job? I'm hardly going to leave him to it and shrug my shoulders when he can't manage it.

I keep anti-bac gel in the car, I don't like it as it is very drying but this has made me think I will use it more.

Itsjustafleshwound Sat 19-Sep-09 13:37:20

Horton country farm had plenty of sinks around the farm - but water was cold and soap dispensers out of reach of most toddlers .... not ideal ....

AvrilH Sat 19-Sep-09 13:43:02

YANBU - I will be ignoring this advice.

Handwashing after touching animals and before eating is enough.

AvrilH Sat 19-Sep-09 13:44:23

That is to say it is enough for me

it might not be enough to prevent infection, but we can't live in a bubble

and if my child had underlying health issues, I would think twice

MarmadukeScarlet Sat 19-Sep-09 13:54:44

I live on a smallholding, I do have a child with underlying health issues (heart valve defect, suppressed immune response, metabolic disorder as well as a communication and learning difficulties.)

Last year I took in several chickens that infected my flock with salmonella, this year I was sold a puppy with campylobacter.

My DS (and DD) collect eggs and touch the chickens everyday, the puppy was licking their hands (and faces sometimes) none of them got ill.

The moral of the story, WASH HANDS!

I am very sorry that several children are so seriously unwell, however...(to counter fleshwound's comments) my DS will never wash his hands in anything but cold - it is the soap and washing action that kill most germs, (adult) hand hot water would not kill germs on it's own - it would have to be too hot to tolerate to make much difference.

As for the soap dispenser being out of reach of a toddler - an adult should, in this situation, be supporting the proper washing of hands for a child too young - by which I probably mean less than 6 - to do it alone.

I used to publish a hospital handwashing newsletter and organise handwashing seminars (I kid you not) otc anti bac gel alone will not kill everything.

RedSkyInTheMorning Sat 19-Sep-09 14:00:20

Well my daughter's obviously a sitting duck for e-coli as we are a farming family! Funny how no children who live on farms around here have ever had it, neither has my dh as a child. I always wash her hands after she's been on the farm.

Living is a risk. It can kill you.

Itsjustafleshwound Sat 19-Sep-09 14:00:27

Thanks MS - I was under the impression that there was nothing better than hot water and soap to kill germs...

AvrilH Sat 19-Sep-09 14:01:00

1st google hit on handwashing technique search...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Rx5UNLDlw4

Morloth Sat 19-Sep-09 14:05:14

Crazy talk. How many people go to these places every year? How many people get sick because of it? Bet it is a teeny tiny percentage.

We took a school trip of around 30 kids (reception and preschoolers) last term, we washed our hands about 6 times throughout the day. Wasn't that hard.

Lots of mucky animals, lots of kids and no-one got ill.

I grew up on a farm, none of us ever got seriously ill. Washing your hands with warm soapy water sorts out most problems I reckon!

bronzebeard Sat 19-Sep-09 14:11:52

But who would I get to skivvy for me when dealing with the birds?

Heated Sat 19-Sep-09 14:12:38

The dcs' nursery is at a visitor and working farm - and regualarly see and pet animals - but am not concerned. Visitors always use hand gel going into the nursery and in and out of the farm, and there's lots of hand-wash basins and soap to help against D&V & swine 'flu + now E.coli.

bumpsoon Sat 19-Sep-09 14:26:16

marmaduke well said ,i cant abide that antibac gel stuff , people seem to be living under the illusion that it negates the need to properly wash and dry hands , i think im right in saying that whilst it is effective against mrsa ,it isnt for C.diff . E coli is a horrible thing for children and adults to catch ,but it is relatively rare so stopping under 5s visiting petting farms is madness in my opinion .

bronzebeard Sat 19-Sep-09 14:31:42

Marmaduke. I would love to hear more about your smallholding smile

groundhogs Sat 19-Sep-09 14:33:29

Oh good, glad it wasn't just me that thought the ban was a load of stuff an nonsense...

I did see that at the Godstone Farm they had signs up to say that anitbac stuff was not sufficient, and soap and water was best.

I visited Horton Park last year, my DS loved it and I was looking forward to going back there at some point....

When it's back open, I'll go, and I'll make sure he washes his hands after touching each animal.

PeedArrrrrffWithNits Sat 19-Sep-09 14:40:49

DSs favourite place is the local kids farm, and I agree that vigilant handwashing is all that is called for

whilst it is so sad so many kids are very ill in this ecoli outbreak, I do think it could have been avoided if more people just washed their hands more often/better

even swine flu has not persuaded some people to adopt basic hygeine regimes, you can stand in the ladies at our local hospital and see dozens of people leaving the loo and NOT washing their hands - and then they blame the hospital cleaners when patients get ill!

valhala Sat 19-Sep-09 15:38:21

Contrary to artichokes' assertion, Godstone Farm did NOT have poor hygeine.... the CHILDREN did, thanks to the ignorance of their parents.

Godstone has ample handwashing facilities and a great many large and entirely comprehensible signs telling parents to ensure that their children wash their hands. Had the parents followed this simple advice it is highly unlikely that this outbreak would have ever happened. I just hope to god that no animal is killed because of the stupidity of humans who cannot wash their goddamn hands. Its sad enough to think of the loss of business that such a great place will experience because of a small number of utter fools.

What do we do? Ship all children who live on farms, whose parents are involved in animal rescue or in animal healthcare out of the family home, perhaps to the "safety" of the city so that they don't come into contact with the nasty germs?

Funny how my own kids, who often come with me and help in my local dog rescue ... yes and that does mean that they shovel shit... have never become ill as a result.

Nor have they on their farmhouse holidays where they feed lambs and pigs, when they play in local fields where cattle and horses graze or on any of their MANY visits to Godstone Farm.

Grrrr! This type of hysterical journalism makes me sick!

SomeGuy Sat 19-Sep-09 16:11:51

People do die after petting animals, but they also die crossing the road. There have been a few isolated cases over the years of children dying after picking things up at these places, but it doesn't mean they are unsafe, because they get millions of visitors and the risk is very small, and even smaller if you do wash your hands properly.

More people have died at Disney World.

ChilloHippi Sat 19-Sep-09 16:23:19

DS cleaned our rabbit hutches out this morning. I am not at all concerned.

beaniesinthebucketagain Sat 19-Sep-09 16:34:59

we are at risk of seriously damaging future generations, Children are fascinated by the world, let THEM BE!!!!!

its awful children got ill, yes, but parents should be ensuring hygiene standards are kept high when around animals, when i took ds he was 15mnths, i carried the spray antibacterial hand-wash and did his hands after each animal as he touched everything and would undoubtedly touch his mouth too when we got to the sinks he was thoroughly scrubbed and despite licking a sheep he survived and it was a lovely day!

im of the 'it never did me any harm' club (apart from carseats and things like that where it was ignorance that put us at risk, its law of course)

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