Did you see the headline about the cat who sucked the air out of the infant's lungs? No? Me neither. You know why? Because it never happened. Such an incident sounds beyond absurd, doesn't it? And yet, when I was pregnant people actually asked me if I was worried about this happening. This is how conspiracy theories spread, people.
No, I was never worried that my cats would smother my children, etc. I briefly considered a net canopy that attaches to the crib so that cats can't jump in the crib to sleep, but then realized how ridiculous it was. We simply closed the door to the room where the baby was sleeping, but I needn't have worried at all. The cats wanted absolutely nothing to do with the little squirmy, crying aliens who had invaded their space.
Tips for Being Safe & Respectful
This does not mean that pets should sleep with infants or be left alone in the room with infants. They should not. Extra care should be taken to ensure that safety measures are in place when it comes to animals and babies, as previously mentioned earlier this week.
Kids should never be taught to fear animals or mistreat them. Pets in a home can be a positive addition. Pets teach unconditional love, responsibility and trust among other things.
For a child to feel comfortable around animals, the child should be taught how to approach animals, which animals to avoid and basic safe practices in dealing with animals they may come across while walking down the sidewalk, visiting a friend's house or at a farm, etc.
Here some resources for finding this information and more:
Of course, kids should also be taught to treat animals with respect and kindness. Abuse of animals by young kids is not only disturbing, but can also be an early sign of trouble that could lead to more serious criminal activity in the future. If your child or another child you know hurts or kills any kind of animal, you should seek psychological help for that child or alert that child's parents, caretakers or authorities to this issue.
Here are tips for teaching kids how to treat animals, whether you have pets in your home or not:
Overall, be kind, be patient, be considerate, be smart. Always be a good example to your kids by treating animals with respect and kindness. Remember that pets are a lot of work and take a lot of time and energy. Be prepared for this before you get a new pet. It's heartbreaking to a child and teaches your child to question whether to connect with and trust another if you are constantly getting a pet and then getting rid of a pet because you don't have time, hastily chose the wrong breed, etc.
Pets are amazingly intuitive and can teach kids many wonderful things, including unconditional love and loyalty. Pets are great for cuddling with when feeling sad, lonely or down. They are equally fabulous companions for romping and playing with and generally keeping one company. Over and out...