One of the things the COVID-19 outbreak has caused is limiting children from playing outside their residences to help ensure they’re not exposed to the virus. While kids are seemingly healthy and energetic, they’re not exempted from the impacts of the pandemic. The virus can strike their frail bodies, causing grave sickness. So, how can parents, caregivers, and frontliners keep children safe during the pandemic?
Check out the following expert tips on how to keep children safe during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Wearing Personal Protective Equipment
Primary children’s caregivers and medical professionals assigned in pediatric healthcare should wear the appropriate personal protective equipment when dealing with children to protect them from coronavirus.
High-quality scrub pants help protect the wearers from skin contact with body fluids, droplets, and airborne contaminants. But, additional PPEs are required when the number of active cases is still significant. Also, children need to wear suitable wardrobe and PPEs when outside the house for additional protection.
Here are the recommended PPE tips for children’s safety during the pandemic:
- All children over two years old should wear face masks.
- Teachers, caregivers, and all significant people around children should also wear appropriate face coverings.
- Ensure that face masks worn by children are covering their mouth and nose.
- Choose children-fit face coverings worn consistently for effective prolonged wear during school days.
2. Strict Health And Safety Compliance
Parenting can be tough during this time of pandemic. Because children tend to mimic adults, showing full compliance with health protocols teaches them to do the same. For instance, adult family members should follow social distancing and wearing of face coverings when they’re in public areas.
Adult compliance is one good way to instill discipline in children, which can help them become more aware and keener of doing ways to protect themselves against COVID-19. Even children with medical conditions can be taught to effectively wear face masks with practice, strong parental support, and role-modeling by adults.
3. Enforce Safe Classroom Routines
With massive vaccination, opening of schools will be allowed, and enforcing safe classroom routines is a must to keep children protected from coronavirus transmission. Take a look at these recommended classroom routines to attain this goal:
- Limit Student Interaction: Student interaction outside classroom premises should be limited. Instead of children filling the hallways in between periods, which is a common practice, teachers should be the one to move between classrooms.
- Break Settings: Allow students to eat snacks and lunches at their desks rather than in crowded lunchrooms. Students should follow the 6-ft social distancing during lunch because they’ll need to remove their mask when eating.
- Reduce Surface Contacts: Leave classroom doors open to reduce touching surfaces, such as doorknobs.
- Observe Proper Air Circulation: Open doors and windows to maintain good air circulation. Install fans in strategic locations to decrease stagnant air.
4. Home Temperature Checks
Fever is a strong sign of infection. Children’s health must be monitored at home and stay home if they have a fever or showing any sign of illness.
5. COVID-19 Screening
The K-12 School Operational Strategy set by the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention or CDC explains precautionary measures to avoid the occurrence of COVID-19 cases in schoolgrounds. While mass testing of children isn’t practical and proposed by CDC, targeted testing for teachers and staff members is advised.
Testing can help identify people infected with COVID-19 and vaccination for school teachers and staff is highly recommended to provide additional layer of protection in schools. Weekly screening of school personnel and students’ living areas with high COVID-19 cases is also advised.
6. Teach Children Proper Handwashing
Proper handwashing should be taught to children at an early age to help them develop this good practice. Handwashing must be done after playing, as well as before and after eating and touching of eyes, mouth, and nose.
7. Disinfect The Home
Working parents and other adult family members can be potential carriers of the virus. For this reason, regularly disinfecting the home is highly recommended.
Here are some disinfection tips recommended by WHO in non-healthcare settings:
- Recommended Disinfectant Solution: In non-healthcare settings, you can combine one part household bleach (5% strength) to 49 parts of water. Also, 70% to 90% alcohol can be used to disinfect surfaces.
- Technique: Before disinfection, surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water first. Start cleaning from the least soiled to the dirtiest area to avoid spreading dirt and disease-causing microorganisms.
8. Boost Children’s Immunity
Having a strong system is one of the strongest defenses children have against COVID-19. When the immune system is compromised, the body is more vulnerable to viral attacks and other invaders.
Check the following ways to help protect children’s immunity:
- Proper Nutrition: Children should eat a variety of foods to meet their high caloric requirements. Because children are naturally energetic, they need carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Meet their energy demands by giving them home-cooked foods and regular meals packed with nutrients.
- Supplementation: Vitamin C supplements given to children help boost their immune system. A half kilo of oranges is equivalent to 500 mg of vitamin C, so it makes sense providing supplements since children tend to get picky and not to eat much food. Parents can talk to a pediatrician about other supplement options.
- Enough Rest And Sleep: The body repairs itself during sleep, fighting free radicals and microbes invading the system. That’s why children should be taught the importance of rest and sleep. Setting schedule for naps and early bedtime to have eight hours of sleep at night can help boost immunity in children. Keep away gadgets and other devices that can prevent and disturb a good night’s sleep.
- Regular Checkup: Parents can take advantage of telehealth services to ensure their children are regularly checked by their pediatricians, especially during sick days.
Parents are overly worried about their children contracting coronavirus, taking all means to keep them safe. With full compliance, discipline, active participation, and collaborative work of private and public sectors, children’s safety against COVID-19 can be protected. Teaching children the importance of handwashing, proper nutrition, and healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to keep them safe during this new normal.