Rodents & Children – Tips for Dealing with Kids and Rodents
April 16, 2012
Rodents are fairly common household pests and can cause a lot of trouble. These creatures are carriers of disease and pose a constant threat to the health and safety of your family, so rodent control is essential.
Mice and rats are the most likely rodent pests to inhabit your home, especially during the winter months. Because of this, they often present the most significant threat. Although short-lived, they are prolific year-round breeders and typically have large litters. A female mouse can give birth to anywhere between 10 and 14 pups. A female rat is capable of a staggering 8 to 18 pups. The young are able to begin breeding as soon as three weeks after birth.
These rodents’ numbers aren’t the only problem. Although mice only consume about three grams of food per day and require no additional water to thrive, they will go to the bathroom as often as 80 times in a day. Furthermore, they will do it all over your home and belongings. This is how diseases are spread.
While mice and rats pose little danger of spreading deadly diseases in most developed countries, there is still small a possibility. For example, they are known to be possible carriers of the Hanta and Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis viruses, Rabies and Lyme disease, as well as the historic Bubonic plague. The numerous bacterial pathogens are what presents the greatest threat. These include S. moniliformis, Salmonella, E. coli, S. minue and F. tularensis and others.
Though most healthy adults bay not become ill from the presence of rodent urine and droppings, children are another matter. Their immune systems are still developing and are already constantly under attack from their environment. Children are also susceptible to allergens from rodents such as their hair, dander and dried excrement. Babies are at a particularly high risk. They may put things into their mouths that are covered in dried urine or feces. Illness caused by rodent-borne pathogens can result in hospitalization for young children.
The first step to safeguarding your child’s health is to come up with some pest control solutions. For all the trouble they cause, rodents are easy to control.
If you don’t know where to begin, are squeamish about doing it yourself or have a big infestation, you should call an exterminator. Having a professional carry out rodent control gets the job done more efficiently and removes your participation from the process. Just make sure to be careful about poisons, as these can also harm children and exacerbate allergies.
Rodents prefer cozy and out of the way places to make their nests. This makes cluttered kids’ and babies’ rooms an ideal setting. Keep toys put away and don’t allow clothes or blankets to pile up in corners, closets or under beds.
Bags of flour, rice, beans or other dry goods are staples in most kitchens, but are also potent attractors of rodent pests. Mice and rats can chew through bags easily to get at the nourishment inside. One effective means of pest control is to put all of these things into sturdy, tightly-closed storage containers. If you cut off their access to easy food, they won’t stick around. Most children enjoy the idea of having a pet and will surely be thrilled if you bring home a cuddly cat. The deal is made even better by the fact that a cat will help to keep rodents away from your home. If they do get in, a cat will make short work of the menace.
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