Birds and fish
* Choose a small, domestic bird, like a cockatiel, parakeet, or canary, which won't hurt your child if it bites him (which is unlikely). These birds are fairly easy to care for and are less likely to spread parasites or bacteria than larger, imported ones.
* Don't let your child hold the bird; if he wants to pet it, you hold it and let him stroke its back.
* The cage should be cleaned daily -- by an adult. Wear rubber gloves, then wash them and your hands thoroughly afterward.
* Teach your child never to tap on the cage or stick any objects into it.
Tropical fish are among the safest, most colorful, and low-maintenance pets, but even they can present problems. * Tell your child never to put his hands in the tank. The water may contain salmonella or other harmful bacteria. * Don't buy predator fish, such as piranhas. * As with all pet foods (and medicines), store fish food and any chemicals for the tank out of your child's reach. Teach your child not to overfeed fish.