A baby and a big dog is lying on a wooden floor

Would you allow pet(s) to co-exist with your baby?

September 28, 2017
  • Yes, I love pets and believe my child would be safe under supervision
  • Yes, but only certain pets would be allowed
  • Not until the child is older. The risks outweigh the benefits
  • No

Researchers say that babies who grow up around pets – namely dogs and cats – are less likely to get sick than children who live in a pet-free environment. According to an article published in TIME (https://healthland.time.com/2012/07/09/study-why-dogs-and-cats-make-babies-healthier/), in a test study of 397 Finnish children, babies who grew up in homes with pets were 44% less likely to develop an ear infection and 29% less likely to receive antibiotics, compared with their pet-free counterparts. 

Kids with dogs fared better than those with cats. Children from homes with cats were 6% more likely to be healthy than those in cat-free families, but those who lived with a dog were 31% more likely to be healthy in their first year than babies without a dog. Unfortunately, having a canine around babies isn’t always a recipe for happiness.

“Unsupervised children” is arguably the most critical factor in fatal dog attacks on children. Safetyarounddogs.org lists two-year olds as the age group with the second highest number of dog attack fatalities. Of that group, 88% of the fatalities occurred when the child was left unsupervised, or wandered off to a dog’s location.The thought of losing a child to an attack is mortifying, but fatalities are actually quite rare, for any breed. Out of the 65 million dogs Americans keep as pets, 15 to 20 fatalities occur annually in the US. A child is much more likely to die choking on an object. With these factors in mind, would you allow pets around your baby?

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