In many homes nannies work in, the family’s pet has been in the home longer than the family’s children. Since the nanny works in the private home of the family, she must take measures to ensure the child’s safety when there are pets in the home. Ensuring that the family pet is well-trained and that it is never left alone with a baby or young child can help to prevent injury.
It’s important to note that children can provoke even the gentlest of family pets to bite or scratch, especially if they are startled. Since children do not naturally know how to safely interact with pets, nannies must teach or reinforce lessons on how to safely interact with the family pet and how to interpret the pets’ body language. Children should know that when a dog has a stiffed, raised tail, for example, it means the dog should be left alone.
Many families opt for pets that can be contained in a cage or tank. While iguanas are popular pets for children, they can carry salmonella which can cause illness if a child touches the iguana then puts his hands in his mouth.
When volunteering for a position, nannies must consider if they wish to work in homes where pets are present. Nannies should carefully evaluate their comfort level regarding working in an environment where pets are present and should consider if they are willing and able to provide pet care and take on the additional responsibility of teaching a child how to safely interact with the family’s pets. Nannies should ensure that they are well informed about any additional duties that may result from working in a home where pets are present during the interview process and carefully consider if they are willing to take on those duties when volunteering for the position.