Hey Mamas, a recent article from Harvard Medical School has made it abundantly clear that it’s not a good idea to have reptiles like turtles, snakes, or lizards for pets. They, and the CDC, are warning parents, teachers and the like to keep those critters (and all reptiles) out of the house, school, or day care center and away from the kids.

The reason is the threat of salmonellosis infection. Infants, children under 5, and anyone with a compromised immune system is at particular risk for serious illness and even death. Sounds scary but knowledge is power right? The CDC has recommended that those in the heightened risk categories should avoid any contact whatsoever with them or their cages, aquariums, or places where they hang out.

Even if your kids are much older and your immune system is as good as it gets, you should still follow these recommendations so that no one in your family is put at risk: never let reptiles roam the house; wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap if you come in contact with them; and never clean their cages in the kitchen sink or near where food is prepared. If you use the bathtub for this task it must be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected with bleach.

Sounds like the best strategy is to view these guys at the zoo and get a different pet!

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

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The Mama ButtonThe information provided by MamasOnCall is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, but is for information purposes only. You assume full responsibility for the health and well-being of your family. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychiatric condition.