What Parents Need to Know

Reliable information about coronavirus (COVID-19) is available for parents from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The information below will help you find answers to many common questions about coronavirus (COVID-19).

Symptoms in Children

Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) in children may be similar to those for common respiratory viruses and they may be milder than adult symptoms. Also, children may not have any symptoms even though they are infected, but they can still spread the disease to others.

  • fever
  • symptoms of respiratory infection
  • cough
  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose

How Do I Help My Kids Avoid Getting Sick?

The CDC recommends the same preventive actions for avoiding other illnesses. Help kids develop healthy habits and remind them how important those habits are. Advice for parents include keeping items at home clean and disinfected.

  • Wash hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water aren't available.
  • Avoid people who are coughing and sneezing or who have other symptoms of being sick.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks).
  • Launder items, including washable plush toys, as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.

Helping Kids Cope with Stress

The World Health Organization (WHO) advises talking to kids about how they can avoid getting sick in words they can understand based on their age, as well as talking in a reassuring way about what could happen if someone they know were to get sick. The WHO also suggests other ways to help children cope with stress during a health crisis, such as responding in a supportive way if they are anxious or clingy and trying to keep their regular schedules as much as possible.

The AAP is another good source of information about helping kids understand the information they are hearing in the news about coronavirus (COVID-19). Some of their recommendations include talking to kids in a way they can understand as well as these tips:

  • Offer simple reassurance.
  • Give them control.
  • Watch for signs of anxiety.
  • Monitor their media.
  • Be a good role model.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network created a Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

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Handwashing is an important part of preventing illness, but what is the best way to wash your hands? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains their recommendations in this video.

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