Can my child get COVID-19?
Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. Children may have mild symptoms. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally shown 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 healthcare needs.
Helping stop the spread of COVID-19
Take steps to protect children and others from getting sick. Help stop the spread of COVID-19 by doing the same things everyone should do to stay healthy. Teach your children to do the same.
Clean hands often using soap and water(for 20 seconds) or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing).
Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (like tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, and sinks)
Launder items including washable plush toys as needed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
Limit time with other children- The key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to limit contact as much as possible. While school is out, children should not have in-person playdates with children from other households. If children are playing outside their own homes, it is essential that they remain 6 feet from anyone who is not in their own household.
Our recommendation: Children 2 years and older should wear a cloth face covering their nose and mouth when in the community setting. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand cleaning, and other everyday preventive actions. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but may prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others. This would be especially important in the event that someone is infected but does not have symptoms. Medical masks and N-95 respirators are still reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
If children meet in groups, it can put everyone at risk. Children with COVID-19 may only have mild symptoms, but they can still pass this virus onto others who may be at higher risk, including older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions.
Older Adults and Children
Limit time with older adults and people with serious underlying medical conditions.
Older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions are at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
If others in your home are at particularly high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, consider extra precautions to separate your child from those people.
If you are unable to stay home with your child while school is out, carefully consider who might be best positioned to provide child care. If someone at higher risk for COVID-19 will be providing care (older adult, such as a grandparent or someone with a chronic medical condition), limit your children’s contact with other people.
Consider postponing visits or trips to see older family members and grandparents. Connect virtually or by writing letters and sending via mail.
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.
Teaching and reinforcing everyday preventive actions
Parents and caretakers play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands. Explain that handwashing can keep them healthy and stop the virus from spreading to others.
Be a good role model—if you wash your hands often, they’re more likely to do the same.
Learn more about handwashing and other everyday preventive actions
Helping 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 (like stretch breaks or dance breaks) throughout the day to help your child stay healthy and focused.
Helping 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 non-profits, such as the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning 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.
Helping your child to continue learning
Stay in touch with your child's school
Many schools are offering lessons online (virtual learning). Review assignments from the school, and help your child establish a reasonable pace for completing the work. You may need to assist your child by turning on devices, reading instructions, and typing answers.
Communicate challenges to your school. If you face technology or connectivity issues, or if your child is having a hard time completing assignments, let the school know.
Create a flexible schedule and routine for learning at home
Have consistent bedtimes and get up at the same time, Monday through Friday.
Structure the day for learning, free time, healthy meals and snacks, and physical activity.
Allow flexibility in the schedule—it’s okay to adapt based on your day
Consider the needs and adjustments required for your child's age group
The transition to being at home will be different for preschoolers, K-5, middle school students, and high school students. Talk to your child about expectations and how they are adjusting to being at home versus at school.
Consider ways your child can stay connected with their friends without spending time in person
Look for ways to make learning fun
Have hands-on activities, like puzzles, painting, drawing, and making things.
Independent play can also be used in place of structured learning. Encourage children to build a fort from sheets or practice counting by stacking blocks.
Practice handwriting and grammar by writing letters to family members. This is a great way to connect and limit face-to-face contact.
Start a journal with your child to document this time and discuss the shared experience.
Use audiobooks or see if your local library is hosting virtual or live-streamed reading events.
What should I do if I think my child has COVID-19?
If your child has any difficulty breathing, please proceed to the nearest Emergency Department immediately. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911.