Ball pythons are great first time snakes IF they're greatly domesticated & handled regularly.
But you must know snakes live for a long period, & they need proper care. I'd say they're pretty hardy. If you want one, I'd also advise joining online reptile forums for any questions you may have.
The B.P.s I've had have been handled by children, with adult supervision. They do coil & squeeze, but it's fairly easy to uncoil them. Start with babies, because when they finally get big enough, & get stronger, your child will be old enough to hopefully uncooil the snake themselves, if needed.
Another reptile that's GREAT is a leopard gecko. If you're just starting off with reptiles, I'd suggest one of these instead, until more experience with reptiles is gained. I wouldn't advise garter snakes because they tend to have respiratory issues & they're usually too fast to handle for children.
About the Author
Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.