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Blonde little toddler child wearing protective mask, playing on the playground

COVID-19 Summer Safety Tips

By Dr. Amy Hedges, Liberty Pediatrics

Summer is in full swing, and the kids want to do something fun now that the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are easing a bit.

But the virus is still circulating, and even increasing in some areas, so parents need to put safety first. It’s important to make decisions that take into account the health and safety of the people around you, not just your children, but all of your family members, friends, and neighbors.

Parent should also balance risk by not taking on a lot of big exposures all at once. Social connections are important to children, so here are some tips for kids to have fun while avoiding unnecessary risk.

Play dates are best in small groups, and outside.

  • One-on-one play dates pose the lowest risk.
  • Playing outside, in small groups, is better than staying inside.
  • Keep the time period limited. Playing outside for an afternoon is better than a sleepover.
  • Have kids do an activity where they move around or stay physically distant, rather than staying in one place for a while. A bike ride is better than a board game.
  • Take the basic safety precautions researchers know are effective in limiting the spread of the virus: physical distancing, watching hands often, and wearing masks made of cotton or another light, breathable fabric.
  • Touch base with other families in group outings before the gathering to make sure everyone is on the same page with safety measures.
  • Allow older children and teens to use social media to keep connected with friends.

Hitting the beach can be relatively low risk.

  • Go to the beach or boardwalk at times when they are not crowded.
  • Have your kids only play with other children they know.
  • Bring masks with you.
  • Remember to also bring sunscreen and hats to prevent sunburn.
  • Swimming in a backyard pool with siblings or a few close friends is safer than in a large community pool.
  • Sprinklers and sprinkle parks are another good option for cooling off.

Do some homework before traveling away from home.

  • Be aware of how coronavirus is affecting the area you’re traveling from as well as the one you’re traveling to, and what local health authorities are saying about community spread. More outbreaks could mean you have a higher risk.
  • Travel in your own vehicle, when possible.
  • If you must use a train, bus, or plane, try to keep your distance from other travelers, wear face masks during the trip, and wipe down armrests or seat handles with disinfectant wipes.

Small social gatherings are best outside and with as few people as possible.

  • Have outdoor meals when possible.
  • Don’t share food items.
  • Don’t sit too close together.

Set precautionary measures before hiring babysitters and child care providers.

  • If you hire a babysitter, ask about their social network and what safety precautions they are taking.
  • Make sure your babysitter is comfortable with the safety measures you’re implementing in your home and understand how they’re maintaining their own safety when they’re not in your home.
  • Make sure your child’s day care is implementing proper safety measures before letting your child return.
  • Child care staff should wear masks to reduce the exposure of the children to respiratory droplets.
  • Check that children attending day care and staff are screened daily for signs of illness.
  • Make sure enhanced cleaning practices are in place.

Choose summer camps that are outside with small groups.

  • Avoid sleep-away camp.
  • Make sure the camp staff encourage kids to wash their hands often and clean surfaces throughout the day.

Follow recommendations when out in public.

  • Children 3 years and older should wear cloth face coverings when in public settings, except children who are not developmentally able to wear a mask, or those who have health conditions that would make breathing difficult.
  • Masks should fully cover the mouth and nose, fit close to the skin, but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable and prevents breathing.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.