COVID-19 pandemic is a grave danger looming over the world. It is caused by the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). To prevent its spread, people must maintain social distancing. People who have COVID-19 or have come in contact with patients must isolate themselves. Even whole countries are being put under lockdown to stop the spread of this rapidly spreading Coronavirus.
Adults can understand all this and restrict their movements. But it is very hard for children to understand why they cannot step out of their home or why they need to stay away from the isolated family member. Parents need to be very careful to keep children safe from Coronavirus. They must also ensure kids are happy and relaxed and not getting terrified by the situation.
If you are a parent worried about your children, here are some important things you need to understand:
Are Coronavirus symptoms different in children?
It will be a relief for you to know that Coronavirus symptoms in children are usually milder than adults. Of course, in some cases, the children can become critically ill too from COVID-19. But the percentage of such cases is less compared to adults. Also, infants might have more severe symptoms than toddlers and older children. This is because infants’ immunity isn’t as developed as that of the older kids.
One study in China has revealed the following about children affected by COVID-19:
- Infants: 11% have severe symptoms.
- 1 to 5 years old: 7% have severe symptoms
- 6 to 10 year old: 4% have severe symptoms
- 11 to 15 year old: 4% have severe symptoms
- 16 years or older: 3% have severe symptoms.
Among the children studied in China, it was also revealed that about 4 percent of them were asymptomatic. That is, they had no symptoms of the illness. 51 percent of the affected children had mild illness. 39 percent of the affected children had moderate illness. And about 6 percent of children developed critical illness. This is much less when compared to 18.5 percent of adults. It must be noted that children with a pre-existing medical condition and special healthcare needs may be more at risk of developing severe symptoms.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronavirus symptoms in children and adults are similar. But children might also develop vomiting and diarrhea.
How to keep your children safe from Coronavirus?
While children are less likely to develop serious symptoms from COVID-19, you must still try to keep them safe from it. This is especially important if someone in your home has the infection.
- Don’t let your children go to crowded areas like public parks. Try to keep them engaged at home.
- If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself. Teach your children why you need to stay away from them.
- If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, wash the toys you might have touched recently before letting children play with them.
- Keep the high-traffic areas clean and sanitized. These include door handles and other surfaces children often touch.
- Designate a caregiver among friends, family, neighbors to take care of your children if you need to isolate yourself and have nobody else in the home to look after kids.
How to talk to your children about Coronavirus?
We may think children don’t know what is happening in the world. But if you are listening to the news all day and discussing the coronavirus pandemic at home, your kids have heard and seen enough to make them scared. They might not reveal their fears to you. So, it is up to you to talk to children and remove their anxiety. This is especially important if anyone at home is in self-isolation or quarantine.
- Talk to your children in age-appropriate language and educate them about the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Use the example of other viruses like influenza to explain Coronavirus effects.
- Explain how social distancing and staying inside the home will keep them safe.
- If a family member is under self-isolation or quarantine, explain to the children why they need to stay away from such people.
- Being confined within homes can be hard for children. Keep them engaged in interesting activities.
- Teach your children the importance of washing their hands with soap and water carefully and frequently.
- Assure your children this is a temporary problem and all will be well soon. Answer their questions patiently and try to alleviate their fears.
Keeping children safe and happy is a top priority for all parents. Not an easy task even at the best of times. COVID-19 has made it even harder now. But with proper care and precautions, your children can stay safe from the Coronavirus as well as anxiety and boredom it might cause them.