The recent spread of the coronavirus means that we need to be extra vigilant in protecting ourselves against Covid-19. But it’s not just us we need to look after, it’s our children too.
Some facts about the coronavirus in children
While it’s known that children can catch the coronavirus, in most cases the symptoms of the virus in children are mild and, according to the World Health Organisation, children are less likely to catch coronavirus, however there is still a risk there. Talking to your children about this should avoid them feeling too frightened. Perhaps you can share some of our tips below about coronavirus prevention with them, too.
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1. Wash hands regularly
The most effective protection against your child catching the coronavirus is for them to regularly wash their hands with soap and water. Teach them to wash their hands:
- As soon as they get to school
- After blowing their nose
- After going to the toilet
- Before eating a snack or a meal
- As soon as they come home
2. Wash hands properly
The official advice from the NHS is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, rubbing soap over both hands and in-between fingers and thumbs. Follow these tips:
- Wash your hands with your children first, to ensure they’re doing it correctly.
- Wash hands for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
- Or make it fun by picking their favourite song to sing along with.
3. Contain the spread of germs
As the coronavirus can be transmitted through small droplets in coughs and sneezes, an important coronavirus prevention measure is to teach your child how the virus spreads and to cover up when coughing and sneezing. They should:
- Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when they cough or sneeze.
- Immediately throw any used tissue into a bin and then wash their hands.
- Never cough or sneeze into their hands.
- Avoid touching their face, eyes, nose, mouth.
- Adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Make sure you are wiping down frequently touched surfaces such as taps, toilets, tables, kitchen counters, bathroom vanities, door handles, floors, mobile phones, computer keyboards and mouses. Wiping down children's toys is also a good precaution to take.
4. Re-think your plans
It might not be possible to avoid all social situations or trips out, but there are things you can do to limit your child’s exposure to the coronavirus. Playing outside is encouraged, although where possible:
- Try to avoid crowded places.
- Leave any toys, teddies or favourite blankets at home.
- Instead of shaking hands, teach your child a safe greeting, such as a wave, an elbow bump, a nod or even a bow.
- Keep your child away from anyone ill or who you suspect may be unwell.
5. Support your child’s school or nursery
It’s likely that with all the extra hand washing and hygiene practices in place, some additional supplies would be welcomed at your child’s school to help keep your child protected. Useful items to donate might be:
- Boxes of tissues
- Hand sanitiser gels
- Hand soap
- Antibacterial surface cleaner
6. Prepare your child with their own coronavirus prevention ‘tool kit’
Encouraging your child to stay safe and protected is easier when they have their own ‘tool kit’ of essentials. It’s a good idea to provide them with items that are easily accessible, such as:
- Pocket-sized hand sanitiser (mini-sized bottles are available)
- Pack of tissues
- Their own drinks bottle
7. Stay informed and talk to your child
As the coronavirus situation unfolds, developments can seem confusing or daunting for children. Make sure you stay informed about the latest public advice on the coronavirus, then providing calm and correct advice to your child. Work together as a family to instil safe hygiene practices, reassuring your child that this will give them the best protection.
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publishing. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it’s possible that some guidance may have changed since publication. While Cleanipedia is trying to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using GOV UK and NHS.