Adults and teens are vaccinated, summer activities are resuming, and children’s excitement is off the hook. We are all looking forward to a season of giving children plenty of free play time along with structured activities to boost immune systems, assist in cognitive development, promote good physical and mental well-being; it’s time to enjoy the fun of a childhood summer!
COVID-19 safety guidelines for adults have loosened as nearly 42% of Cook County eligible residents are fully vaccinated, and nearly 54% have at least one vaccine. So what can children under 12 years-old, who are not eligible for the vaccine, safely do this summer?
Alzein Pediatrics is here to help!
Since March 2020, there have been far fewer pediatric COVID-19 cases and those have been less severe than in adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported in April 2021 that 13.8% of cumulative COVID-19 cases were children (age 0-20 years old). Generally, children recover quickly, but they are not exempt from contracting the virus, having severe, long lasting symptoms, or even dying. To reduce the chance of your children contracting COVID-19, keep precautions in place. Keep your child home if they exhibit symptoms such as a fever, cough or fatigue and call our office for a COVID-19 test immediately.
Activities should be outdoors whenever possible. Social distancing and masks are urged whenever safe and possible.
When playing in the neighborhood or on playdates, limit your child’s exposure by forming or continuing your pod, a small, safe group of like-minded families, and playing with children in households where adults are fully vaccinated and are following safety protocols for their own children.
During structured activities, your child should always wear a mask on the sidelines or in the locker rooms, but NOT during physical activities where masks may be a choking hazard or become a visual obstruction, as with competitive cheerleading, gymnastics, wrestling, and water sports/swimming/diving. Children should wear masks during outside activities, such as baseball and soccer, but masks are not necessary for sports where physical distancing is expected between players, such as golf and singles tennis.
When your children are in indoor public spaces, such as a grocery store, make sure they wear a snug-fitting mask that covers from the bridge of the nose between the eyes to under the chin.
Will your child attend a day camp or overnight camps? Be sure that all staff is vaccinated. The CDC recommends that campers should be assigned pods or cohorts and should stay with the same pods for the duration of the camp to prevent potential outbreaks. Staff should help campers maintain 3 feet between members of the same pod and 6 feet between people outside of the pod. Camps should have routine cleaning practices in place, as well as protocols for contact tracing, isolation, and transportation in the event of a positive COVID-19 test and outbreak. For overnight camps, it is recommended to NOT wear a mask while sleeping, so cabins should only house people of the same pod, have proper ventilation, and beds should be spaced 6-feet apart.
Balancing giving your children joyful summer experiences with their friends while keeping them safe from COVID-19 and emerging variants is, at best, extremely difficult for parents and caregivers. If you have questions about precautions or if you suspect child has COVID-19, call our office at 708-424-7600. We are always happy to help you make the best decisions for your family!