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Protecting Children From The Coronavirus: Better Hygiene And Social Distancing

Researchers found fewer children than adults with COVID-19 suffer from the common symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

However, there have been reports of children having severe illness, most often in infants less than a year old. On May 2, 2020, a number of local New York City physicians reported seeing children developing serious inflammatory disease and toxic shock and they suspect COVID-19.

"Some of the cases that we are currently treating entered our care presenting with symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and a low-grade fever. Others presented first with a rash, conjunctivitis, and/or cracked lips." Many tested positive for COVID-19. Melissa Russo "Top NYC Pediatrician Warns of 'Alarming New Information' About COVID-19 and Kids" nbcnewyork.com (May 2, 2020, updated May 5, 2020).

Commentary and Checklist

Keeping children safe requires social distancing (even when playing outside) and wearing face-coverings.

“Virtual” play dates are preferred until a vaccine is available.

However, adults should be careful about children’s online activity. More children are online than ever before, making them susceptible to online predators. 

Other protective steps involve basic hygiene and social distancing principles:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as often as possible. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that is 60 percent or higher alcohol-based. Do not attempt to make your own hand sanitizer. A hand sanitizer that is done incorrectly can burn the skin.
  • Avoid groups even outside.
  • Teach your kids to cough and sneeze into a tissue and to throw it away after each use. Then wash their hands. If tissue is not available, they should cough and sneeze into the inside crook of their elbow, not their hands, and then wash their hands.
  • Clean and disinfect all play surfaces.
  • Stuffed animals and other plush toys should be washed according to the manufacturer's instructions in the warmest water possible and should be dried completely.
  • Avoid touching your face and remind your kids to do the same.
  • Follow local and state guidelines on travel and stay at home restrictions.
  • If your child has been exposed to COVID-19, or if you are concerned about your child's symptoms, call your pediatrician immediately.
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