If you’re visiting a petting zoo, fair, or farm with your toddlers, make sure there’s a nearby hand-washing station that they can reach (if there isn’t, skip getting up close and personal with the animals).
When your toddlers are near the animals or on their way to wash their hands after touching them, be careful to keep their hands away from their faces — don’t let them put their fingers in their mouth, touch and then suck on a pacifier, or eat or drink anything.
In addition to thoroughly washing your toddlers’ hands — and your own — as soon as you leave the animal pens, it’s a good idea to bring along alcohol wipes or an alcohol hand gel, which will kill most of the viruses and bacteria that survived the hand-washing. (Look for a product that says “sanitizes” and “reduces the bacterial count by 99 percent” on the label)
If, despite these precautions, your toddlers become sick after coming in contact with farm animals, let your doctor know right away.