Children and COVID-19:

Children and COVID-19:

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Watch your child for any signs of illness.

  • If you see any sign of illness consistent with symptoms of COVID-19, particularly fever, cough or shortness of breath, call your health care provider and keep your child at home and away from others as much as possible.

If your child is sick, they may present mild symptoms.

  • The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 generally present mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms such as fever, runny nose and cough.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness; for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special health care needs.
  • There is more to learn about how the disease impacts children.

Watch for signs of stress in your child.

  • Some common changes to watch for include excessive worry or sadness, unhealthy eating or sleeping habits, and difficulty with attention and concentration.
  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.

Children older than two should wear a face mask if they are sick or in public.

  • If your child is older than two and healthy, they should only wear a face mask when they are out in public. People who have symptoms of illness or who are providing care to those who are ill should wear face masks.

Children should also avoid in-person interaction with family and friends.

  • Practice social distancing: Take extra measures to put distance between themselves and others (social distancing). Limit time with older adults, relatives and people with serious underlying medical conditions.

Teach and reinforce everyday preventive actions.

  • Parents and caretakers play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands. Explain that hand washing can keep them healthy and stop the virus from spreading to others.
  • Be a good role model: if you wash your hands often, your children are more likely to do the same. Make sure children wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important if you have been in a public place.

Help your child stay active.

  • Encourage your child to play outdoors — it’s great for physical and mental health. Take a walk with your child or go on a bike ride.
  • Use indoor activity breaks (e.g., stretch breaks, dance breaks) throughout the day to help your child stay healthy and focused.

Help your child stay socially connected.

  • Reach out to friends and family via phone or video chats.
  • Write cards or letters to family members they may not be able to visit.
  • Some schools and nonprofits have resources for social and emotional learning. Check to see if your school has tips and guidelines to help support the social and emotional needs of your child.