Child Safety: Don’t be the next “Gorilla Incident”

c1386448-cd52-4c4d-b526-7aeb4bc81ab5_55 Child Safety Tips So You Can Fully Enjoy the Lions, Tigers, and Bears

Parenting is hardly an easy job. Child safety is a lifelong exercise of balancing between being an all-star parent and nothing bad happens or paying dearly for when it does. The recent incident dealing with the 3-year-old boy who slipped into the zoo enclosure of a 420-lb. gorilla is one of those paying dearly for it situations. The Cincinnati mother Michelle Gregg wasn’t on her all-star game when it came to child safety that day. But according to a recent poll by the animal advocacy group Born Free, she hasn’t been the only parent not following child safety steps while at the zoo.

In the past 26 years, there have been 256 injuries from animal attacks at accredited and non-accredited zoo, menageries and wild animal parks in the United States. A recent article by CNN suggests these 5 child safety tips so that your family can fully enjoy the wild kingdom experience the zoo has to offer.

5 Child Safety Tips

  1. Don’t let your children tease the animals. It is important to teach children to respect animals and their habitats. Teasing the animals can provoke them and cause negative consequences. In 1994, a cheetah at a Mississippi zoo scaled a fence and attacked an 8-year-old boy who had been teasing the animal.
  2. Don’t dangle for a better angle. Holding your children over railings or walls for a better view can be dangerous. Just last year, a woman was holding two children over the rail of a cheetah exhibit in a Cleveland zoo when one child slipped out of her grip and fell into the exhibit. Luckily the 2-year-old boy was not harmed. But there have been similar incidents at other zoos with unfortunate outcomes.
  3. Keep your children close. For some reason, children are drawn irresistibly to the most dangerous things in their environment. This past Saturday, a 3-year-old boy managed to crawl between multiple barriers dropping into a Gorilla World at a Cincinnati zoo. While the child was not harmed, a Gorilla was shot dead to ensure the child’s safety. Make sure you know where your children are at all times.
  4. Say no to photos. There are still wild animal parks and menageries that allow or advertise having photos taken with wild animals. These animals are wild and placing yourself or your child in this situation can be dangerous. In 2005, a 17-year-old girl was mauled to death while having her high school portrait taken with a Siberian tiger at a Kansas animal sanctuary. The owner was unable to stop the animal, even though it was restrained. No matter how safe it appears, just say no.
  5. Teach respect. It is important to teach your children that these animals are truly wild animals that will react on instinct in a threatening or invasive situation. They aren’t cuddly pets or stuffed animals and they can be extremely dangerous.

Not following these simple child safety steps not only endangers your child but also the animals. An innocent gorilla was shot to death because a mom made a common child safety mistake many parents make while at the zoo. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake so that you and your child get to safely enjoy the zoo.

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