In this unprecedented time, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is on every parent’s mind. If you are a parent of a baby or toddler, whose immune system is still developing, you may feel especially concerned. We will continue to monitor information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and update you on important developments. For now, here is the latest expert information on COVID-19 and little ones.
COVID-19 and Young Children
Experts say that young children are not considered a high-risk age group. Right now, there are relatively few cases of babies and toddlers contracting the virus, and if they do, they tend to have mild symptoms such as fever, runny nose or cough – or even no symptoms at all. If your little one shows signs of illness, it’s still important to call your pediatrician. The critical word here is “call.” Although children are less likely to be affected by COVID-19, they may be able to transmit the virus, so many doctors’ offices have developed screening procedures, such as calling ahead of time.
If your child does develop a cough, please remember that cough medications are NOT recommended for babies and toddlers, as they may have dangerous side effects for little ones. Always consult your pediatrician before giving your child medication.
It’s still unclear as to why young children are rarely affected by COVID-19. While parents can breathe a sigh of relief, it’s important to stay on top of developments and do as much as possible to protect little ones from getting infected and transmitting the virus.
What Parents Can Do to Protect Young Children from COVID-19
Current recommendations for keeping your little one safe start with practicing good hygiene yourself: Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and stay away from crowded and enclosed public spaces.
At home, disinfect all surfaces (including doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, remote controls, etc.) and continually wipe down any areas where your child plays or crawls. Disinfecting solid toys and laundering soft toys and blankets is also recommended. The CDC states that for surfaces and solid toys, “diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.” You can rinse surfaces and solid toys with water after disinfecting them to ensure your child does not ingest the disinfectant solution.
It’s impossible to stop babies from putting their hands and/or objects in their mouths, or touching everything they see, so making their environment as clean as possible (and washing their hands, too) is an important step.
Toddlers need to understand that washing their hands is the new #1 rule. It’s also a good idea to keep their fingernails clipped so germs can’t get stuck underneath them. Getting toddlers to stop touching their faces (or picking their noses) will seem almost impossible, so don’t hesitate to get creative with this one. Some parents and caregivers have tried “no touching” games or songs. Whatever you can do to get them to follow this rule, give it a go! Hand lotion is also recommended for dry or cracked skin that might result from excessive hand-washing.
At BabySparks our many users around the world are top-of-mind, and we will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments so we can share any vital information on how it can affect children and families.