Animals are not uncommonly found in daycares and other childcare settings.
- Sometimes, it’s good: animals can be entertaining, animal contact can have various benefits to children, and animals can be part of learning activities.
- Other times, it’s not: such as the presence of species at higher risk for shedding certain pathogens, poor management that increases the risk of pathogen exposure, bites or scratches, or poor management that leads to animal distress.
A lot of thought should go into animal selection (both yes/no, and selection of a specific pet) and how the animal(s) is/are managed. Too often, there’s limited consideration of these important issues. There’s also been a dearth of good guidance information. To that end, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Longterm Care has just released a Guidance Document for the Management of Animals in Child Care Centres, 2016. (Click here to download.)