Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 3: Health Promotion and Protection

3.4 Health Protection in Child Care

3.4.2 Animals Prohibited Animals


The following animals should not be kept at or brought onto the grounds of the child care facility (4,6,7):

  1. Bats;
  2. Poisonous animals - Inclusive of spiders, venomous insects, venomous reptiles (including snakes), and venomous amphibians;
  3. Wolf-dog hybrids - These animals are crosses between a wolf and a domestic dog and have shown a propensity for aggression, especially toward young children;
  4. Stray animals - Stray animals should never be present at a child care facility because the health and vaccination status of these animals is unknown;
  5. Chickens and ducks - These animals excrete E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Campylobacter, S. paratyphoid;
  6. Aggressive animals - Animals which are bred or trained to demonstrate aggression towards humans or other animals, or animals which have demonstrated such aggressive behavior in the past, should not be permitted on the grounds of the child care facility. Exceptions may be sentry or canine corps dogs for a demonstration. These dogs must be under the control of trained military or law enforcement officials;
  7. Reptiles and amphibians - Inclusive of non-venomous snakes, lizards, and iguanas, turtles, tortoises, terrapins, crocodiles, alligators, frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, and newts;
  8. Psittacine birds unless tested for psittacosis - Inclusive of parrots, parakeets, budgies, and cockatiels. Psittacine birds can carry diseases that can be transferred to humans;
  9. Ferrets - Ferrets have a propensity to bite when startled;
  10. Animals in estrus - Female dogs and cats should be determined not to be in estrus (heat) when at the child care facility;
  11. Animals less than one year of age - Incorporating young animals (animal that are less than one year of age) into child care programs is not permitted because of issues regarding unpredictable behavior and elimination control. Additionally, the immune systems of very young puppies and kittens are not completely developed, thereby placing the health of these animals at risk.
Animals, including pets, are a source of illness for people, and people may be a source of illness for animals (1-2,4-5). Reptiles usually carry salmonella and pose a risk to children who are likely to put unwashed hands in their mouths (3,5).
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Animals that Might Have Contact with Children and Adults Care for Animals
  1. Weinberg, A. N., D. J. Weber, eds. 1991. Respiratory infections transmitted from animals. Infect Dis Clin North Am 5:649-61.
  2. National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians. 2007. Compendium of measures to prevent disease associated with animals in public settings. MMWR 56:1-13.
  3. Hansen, G. R. 2004. Animals in Kansas schools: Guidelines for visiting and resident pets. Topeka, KS: Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2009. Appendix D: Guidelines for animals in school and child-care settings. MMWR 58:20-21.
  5. Pickering, L. K., N. Marano, J. A. Bocchini, F. J. Angulo. 2008. Exposure to nontraditional pets at home and to animals in public settings: risks to children. Pediatrics 122:876-86.
  6. PETCO Animal Supplies. 2006. Hermit crab: Care sheet.
  7. Kahn, C. M., S. Line, eds. 2010. The Merck veterinary manual. 10th ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck.