Children can get the coronavirus (COVID-19). While most children have mild symptoms, some children have gotten very sick. Your pediatrician is a valuable resource. It’s also important to lower your child’s chances of exposure as much as possible. And to talk to your child about the pandemic.
How to protect a child
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children 2 years and older wear masks. Children under 2 should not wear a mask. Be sure to teach your child not to touch or remove their mask when social distancing is not possible.
Children should also follow guidelines to stay at home, wash their hands often, and practice social distancing. Make it fun: Play a game to see who can wash their hands first before meals, make a DIY mask with a fun print, or make an “obstacle course” to get kids moving indoors.
Worried about your child?
Call your child’s doctor. Many offices have special hours to only care for well and sick children, or have virtual visits available. Your child’s doctor is your best resource and can let you know if your child should be tested.
If your child is having trouble breathing or experiencing other troublesome symptoms, call 911.
Tips for talking to children about COVID-19
News about this pandemic may be difficult for your child to understand. It may also be causing your child to feel anxious or sad because they miss their friends and family. Here are some tips to help ease their worries:
- Be informed: Be sure to have up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the rules and regulations put in place to protect us. Make sure to use reputable sources like your state’s department of health, the CDC, or the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Ask, listen, and assure: Ask what they’ve heard, listen to how they feel, and answer with details you think they can handle.
- Limit news exposure: Avoid constant, graphic news coverage when kids are present. Monitor young children’s activities online to be sure they aren’t being overwhelmed with scary, and possibly false, information.
- Be a good role model: Children look to their parents for routine and stability. Model good hygiene, reasonable precautions, and a calm attitude.
Speak to your child’s doctor if you are concerned about your child’s reaction to news about COVID-19. Remember that children are resilient and look to you for guidance, care, and love.