A Friendly Trip to the Zoo Can't Go Wrong... Except it totally can. All the while that parents and children alike are in awe of the marvelous creatures surrounding them they often forget basic safety precautions. It's really easy, you get in the zoo and forget to put on sunblock, or after seeing it online for days before going forget to write your phone number on your child's hand and paint over it in clear nail polish.  Every family trip has its potential for danger and general mayhem. These tips are to help yours be as fun as possible and go without a hitch.  Water, and Sunblock  Water is essential, you're out in the sun and walking around. If your child is still on a bottle, be aware of the heat and bring a cooler to keep any bottles at appropriate temperature for safe holding. Any kid that's not on the bottle needs to be drinking water for the day. Soda and most soft drinks don't aid in hydration.  Sunblock is the second essential along with sun protective gear such as a brimmed hat. Kid's don't take the heat as well as adults do and extended periods of sun exposure can leave their sensitive skin burned and even to heat stroke.  Don't Imitate the Animals Imitating animals in any habitat should not be encouraged, but more so in Zoo's where this is the animals home. Putting it into perspective we do not fully understand the communication involved in their movements and sounds. While it may seem cute that your child is beating their chest in front of a gorilla cage, it may instigate an aggressive move from the other side of the exhibit.  Children Don't Need a Closer Look  A series of accidents a few years ago can all be tracked down to the source of parents placing kids on railings, or dangling smaller children over so they may have a closer look. It's very unfortunate that in all of these cases it led to injury and in some death.  Take into account that during the planning of the layout of the zoo and its viewpoints it was premeditated that children would be viewing from this vantage point also. If you still think that your kid is missing out on a great view, bring them back when they're older, or take a picture from your perspective.  Animals Swipe, and Have Claws Aside from the obvious dangers of holding your kid over an open pit of wild animals, the less obvious and still not common but too common for comfort is open guardrails. Area's setup up like cages, which is many allow some animals to get a little too close to people. Big cats share lots of things with house cats. If you've ever seen a house cat swipe at a flying moth or pat at the red dot on the wall, well that's exactly what big cats do too. It's mostly out of curiosity, you know it doesn't always kill the cat, but with big cats there's the addition of other elements. These animals are comprised of lean muscle and can exert unbelievable force with one swipe, also their claws are not like Mr. Whiskers at home. They are longer, stronger and they don't get yelled at sharpening them up on anything they find.  Keep kids away from guardrails, most often Zoo's have signs showing safe zones and which lines shouldn't be crossed. If in doubt ask a staff member if they think where you're at is safe, most times even if you are they'll suggest taking maybe one more step back.