Betta fish, reptiles, birds, rodents and certain breeds of cats are ideal animals for young children. Other pets, including insects, arthropods and brine shrimp are suitable given the minimal amount of care needed to sustain the animal's life.
Hardy and low-maintenance, Siamese fighting fish are excellent first pets for children. Unlike goldfish, whose care mandates a variety of equipment, betta fish survive in small amounts of stagnant water with no heaters, filters, aerators or chemicals. They do best in isolation.
Certain reptiles, whose skin and saliva is nonallergenic, make ideal pets in households with young children. With a life span of more than 50 years, tortoises can be a lifelong friend. For safety concerns, boa constrictors should be avoided, and the American Academy of Pediatrics warn that reptiles can readily transmit salmonella.
Guinea pigs are sociable, friendly and unlikely to bite, which make them a solid choice in a family with youngsters. With a kind disposition, these animals are more apt to tolerate the attention of a young caretaker than other creatures in the rodent family. Guinea pigs thrive when paired with other young, same-sex guinea pigs.
Gerbils are suitable for children who do not expect a high amount of physical interaction. Although the animals are friendly, they are also quick, which makes them difficult to handle for extensive stretches of time. They pique children's curiosity with their fast movements inside their habitat.