Wash with soap and water not hand sanitiser at petting zoos says County Council

A child washing hands with a KiddiSynk outdoors at a petting zoo

Infections caught from animals can be harmful warns guidance

There are many venues where youngsters can enjoy finding out about animals of all sorts, such as zoos and petting zoos, farms and other attractions. But before taking anyone on such an outing, it’s essential to ensure that everyone is aware of the importance of hand washing – with soap and water.

Recent advice from Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) warns “if you are planning a trip involving animals, practicing good hand hygiene is essential in keeping yourself and others safe from illness.”

There is a range of bacteria that can present a risk to people. And it only takes a small number of them to cause infection says the article, which lists potential threats such as e.coli, salmonella and cryptosporidium parvum.

School holidays are drawing near, along with the always-popular lambing season. But feeding and petting animals, being in or near their enclosures, fields and barns make it essential that hands are cleaned effectively on a regular basis.

Using soap and water – not gels

“The best way to stay safe is to practice good hygiene during and after your visit. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and avoid touching your mouth.”

A “quick fix” squirt from hand sanitisers is most definitely not recommended by HCC. All visitors should “practice good hygiene” having touched animals, fences and other potentially contaminated surfaces. Washing before eating is particularly important.

“Handwashing is better than using hand sanitizer as it allows you to wash away the bacteria you have come into contact with, rather than using a gel to kill the bacteria present on your hands.”

Keeping You and Your Children Safe from Infection Visiting Farms & Petting Zoos »

A KiddiSynk portable hsndwash unit being used indoors and out at a nursery
A KiddiSynk portable handwash unit being used both indoors and out

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