Hand Hygiene - Recommendations to prevent disease and injury associated with petting zoos in Ontario

Proper hand-washing

  • Wet your hands with warm running water.
  • Lather your hands with soap for 15 - 20 seconds.
  • Rinse hands thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Use the paper towel to turn off tap.

Additionally, petting zoo operators should:

  • Train staff in proper hand-washing technique.
  • Request staff/adult visitors to supervise/assist children to ensure their hands are washed properly.

Proper use of alcohol-based hand-sanitizers

  • Ensure hands are visibly clean. Alcohol-based hand-sanitizers are not as effective if visible dirt is on the hands.
  • Apply a loonie-sized amount (1-2 pumps) onto one palm.
  • Spread over all surfaces of hands.
  • Rub hands until product is dry (at least 15-20 seconds).
  • Do not smoke while applying the product and until hands are dry because alcohol-based hand sanitizers are flammable.
  • Alcohol-based hand-sanitizers must contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective.
  • Baby wipes can be used to remove visible contamination and dirt, but do not contain enough alcohol to be effective disinfectants.
  • Wet wipes can be used but note that not all wet wipes have the 60% alcohol content necessary to be effective disinfectants. 
  • Caregivers should supervise children using hand-sanitizers, and store the hand-sanitizer out of children’s reach.

Hand hygiene facilities
Hand hygiene facilities (i.e., hand-washing facilities or alcohol-based hand-sanitizers) should be located at every exit from animal areas.

  • Petting zoo operators should:
    • Provide sufficient hand hygiene facilities for the maximum anticipated attendance.
    • Position staff near exits to encourage compliance with hand hygiene.
  • Ensure hand hygiene facilities:
  • Equip hand-washing facilities with:
    • Potable running water
    • Liquid soap dispensers
    • Paper towels
    • An adequate waste container
  • Ensure hand-washing facilities:
    • Have sufficient water volume and pressure to remove soil from hands.
    • Have faucets that allow both hands to be free for washing by having automatic shut-off faucets that flow for at least 20 seconds per cycle, or faucets operated by a foot-pump system.
    • Have hot water, if available. If this is not possible, provide a soap that lathers easily in cold water.
    • Employ a waste-water retention and disposal system that cannot be accessed by the public.
    • Do not use communal hand-washing basins.

In cold weather, if mittens/gloves are worn during animal contact, operators should instruct visitors to wash them as soon as possible and apply hand-sanitizer or thoroughly wash their hands after removing the gloves and before eating.