Family Pets and Your One-Year-Old
At the age of one, your baby is able to move around on her own, whether by crawling or toddling. That means she can easily corner an animal, making it feel vulnerable, and that in turn means it is unsafe to leave her alone even with an animal you love and trust. Even the most loving, best-trained dog or cat can bite or scratch when it feels threatened or frightened.
If you are considering getting a new pet, you might want to wait until your child is at least three, the minimum age at which she will be old enough to understand the rules of behavior around an animal. If a pet is what your family really wants, be sure you do some research on the animals that are most comfortable around small children.
It's important to remember that your pet, while part of the family, is still an animal. As such, it has learned behaviors that you have taught it as well as instincts that it shouldn't be expected to ignore. The relationship between a child and an animal changes as the child grows up, so you need to pay attention to their interaction at each stage.
Never leave your child alone with any animal. The speed at which your newly walking child can get across the room is the speed at which he can grab a tail or put his face near a food bowl. Keep both your pet and your child safe by watching them and not having unrealistic expectations. They both need to be watched and cared for, as well given the space and security to become friends who respect each other's space.