The most heart-stopping calls I receive start like this: “My kids were playing outside and…”
Children are innocent and kind-hearted. When they see an animal that appears to be sick or hurt, their nature guides them to want to help. Unfortunately for both children and animals, this can go very, very badly. In the worst cases, children who have tried to rescue wild animals have developed rabies and died. While this is rare, it is a horrific risk that occurs any time a child handles a wild mammal.
Much, much more often, the family of the child is left subjecting the child to a series of expensive, painful post-exposure rabies shots, and the animal must be euthanized for testing. Bites from a wild animal can also be extremely painful or disfiguring, or can cause deep infections.
If you have children, please take a moment to remind them that they should never pet or handle a wild animal, and should tell an adult immediately if they find one that appears to need help.