Even though the novel coronavirus appears to be milder among children than adults, this is still a high-stress time for parents. There’s so much we don’t yet know about this illness and many people are left wondering when life will return to normal. To help you get through this time we wanted to outline some advice on how to keep your kids safe.
Here’s what you need to know:
Keep your hands clean.
Practicing proper handwashing techniques (for you and your child) is one of the simplest and most helpful ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19. We think you’ll find these UNICEF guidelines helpful:
- Wash for 20-30 seconds each time. To make sure your kids are washing their hands for long enough, encourage them to keep washing for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
- Start by wetting hands under running water. Add soap and then scrub all parts of your hands (including between fingers and under your nails) for 20 seconds or more. Finally, rinse thoroughly to remove all soap, and dry your hands with a clean towel or cloth.
- Here’s when to wash hands: before and after eating and cooking; after using the bathroom; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after returning from a public space or touching any surfaces outside your home; after helping a child use the bathroom; before and after caring for someone who is sick; and any other time it feels right.
- Depending how old your child is, consider setting up a stool at the sink so they are able to reach the water and soap.
- Alcohol-based sanitizer is an appropriate substitute for hand washing, especially if you’re away from home and don’t have access to soap and water.
Teach your kids proper etiquette for sneezing or coughing.
Make sure your kids know to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their elbow when sneezing or coughing, and always encourage hand washing afterwards.
Enforce social distancing, but make sure to have conversations about it too.
Social distancing is an important way to slow the spread of COVID-19. But it’s not an easy concept for kids to understand, especially when you’ve put a stop to playdates and your kids start to miss their friends. One way to help your kids through this tough time is to help them have phone or video chats with their friends. Another is to speak candidly with them about the importance of social distancing. Finally, remember that social distancing applies to outdoor spaces, too. If your kids play outside, make sure they know to stay six feet apart from others who don’t live in their home.
Get in touch with a healthcare provider if your child develops a cough, fever, or has difficulty breathing.
Living during the time of a pandemic is scary, especially when you’re worried about the health of your children. But there is one thing to be grateful for—most cases of COVID-19 have been in adults so far and only rarely have children experienced severe cases of COVID-19. But it’s still important to be in touch with your pediatrician if your kids seem sick or develop any common coronavirus symptoms such as a fever, runny nose, cough, diarrhea, and vomiting. To avoid any unnecessary time in public where the chances of exposure are higher, always try to call your physician before heading to their office. These days, telehealth is often a suitable replacement for many in-person visits.
Clean surfaces regularly.
No one likes to hear that they need to clean more frequently. But to keep your family safe, it’s important to regularly clean counters, doorknobs, and other surfaces that may have come in contact with the virus.
Minimize time with older adults and those with underlying medical conditions.
Age and underlying medical conditions both increase the risk of experiencing serious complications from the coronavirus, so it’s best to do what you can to minimize interacting with these groups in order to keep them safe. This means postponing visits to see elderly family members and trying to find alternate caretakers if elderly family members typically watch your children. If you have elderly or immunocompromised people living in your house, you may want to try taking extra measures to keep them separated from your child.
Wear face coverings when outside of the house.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages all people who are two-years-old or older to wear a cloth face covering when visiting a public setting. This is important for preventing the spread of the virus to others. Remember that you can be a carrier of COVID-19 even if you don’t have symptoms, so it’s important to wear a cloth face mask even if you and your children don’t feel sick.
If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.