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Ask the Doc: How do I keep my children safe during the pandemic?

Ask the Doc: How do I keep my children safe during the pandemic?

Q: How do I keep my children healthy during the pandemic?

A: First of all, teach your children 2 years old and older how to wear a mask. Be patient, role model, and practice. It will take a few days to get the hang of it. Young children can very successfully manage a mask. Start at home, then remember to enforce it when you are at the park, the store, attending daycare or a schooling pod or when around older family members. Encourage them not to touch it or their face while it's on, and touch only the straps/elastic when taking it in and off.

Second, do not host or attend large gatherings of family or friends. This is a common cause of COVID spreading. If you are visiting friends or relatives, stay outside, stay 6 feet apart and wear a mask.

Third, continue to remind children to wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer frequently.

Q: What test is best for my child?

A: If you think your child has been exposed or has symptoms of COVID-19, please call your primary care doctor / pediatrician or the LA County Department of public health hotline for advice.

If testing is indicated, do not rely on the quick rapid antigen tests. The American academy of Pediatrics does not recommend these in the pediatric population because they are unreliable.

The best test is the SARS COVID 19 RNA PCR even though the results take longer.

Q: How should we talk to teens and young adults about COVID safety?

A: Teens need frequent reminders of what is expected and why.

They are not immune to serious complications of COVID-19 and they are very capable or spreading COVID to others who are extremely vulnerable. Remind them that their friends can be carriers of the virus or be badly affected by the Coronavirus even though they are currently healthy.

Teens and young adults like everyone else should be wearing masks regularly when outside their home, avoiding indoor gatherings/parties and avoiding contact sports at this time.

Thinking of others is not automatic for teens. However, by harnessing their desire to return to normal activities they may be motivated to think beyond themselves and be willing to distance and wear a mask consistently.

Q: Is it safe to go back to in person school?

A: As recommended by the California Department of Public Health, once community levels drop to Tier 2 on the California Public Health monitoring list, schools will be safe for the vast majority of children.

It is rare for children to have life threatening disease from COVID-19, but of course we want to keep that from happening as much as possible by returning to in-person schooling only when transmission in our community is substantially lower than today.

We will get there if our community is patient and careful about our social distancing practices.

Dr. hamilton

Dr. Erin Hamilton
TMPN Torrance Peds