Hamsters, turtles, chickens… why you should watch out for these pets if you have very young children

Hamsters, turtles, chickens… why you should watch out for these pets if you have very young children
Hamsters, turtles, chickens… why you should watch out for these pets if you have very young children

Reptiles, rodents or birds… “Non-traditional” pets are gaining popularity in French homes. However, they can pose unknown dangers for very young children. The Academy of Medicine alerts.

ACNT. Four letters to describe “non-traditional pets”. The detention of some of them is subject to declaration or possession of a certificate of capacity, or even prohibited, due to the risks incurred by the most vulnerable people, in particular children under 5 years of age, who are particularly vulnerable.

Indeed, these animals can carry pathogens without appearing sick: rats and choriomeningitis in hamsters, salmonellosis in rodents, poultry or reptiles, etc.

However, young children tend to put their hands in their mouths or kiss their little companions, which makes contamination easier.

The Academy therefore recommends:

  • To inform the public of these risks linked to the presence in the home of certain ACNT;
  • to advise against, when children under the age of 5 are present at home, the possession of ACNTs which could represent a risk of bite (ferret, rat, iguana), or transmission of infectious agents (rodents, snakes, turtles, amphibians , birds, small ruminants, etc.);
  • to remind parents of the importance, in the event of any illness in a child under 5 years old, of notifying the doctor if an ACNT is present at home;
  • to create an epidemiological surveillance platform for zoonoses observed in children exposed to the presence of an ACNT.
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