Protecting babies and children from COVID-19 while keeping calm.
At Nature’s Child, we are thinking about the safety of our babies and children with love, hugs, respect and handwashing! We put our heads together and did our research to explore how can we maintain a positive, loving environment to protect babies and children from COVID-19 without too much worry and gloom.
It’s a challenging balance for us as parents to navigate. On one hand, there is worry, concern and some fast learning about the right actions to protect our families. On the other hand, this could be around for a long time so ensuring a calm, loving home is more important as ever.
The shift from knowledge to acceptance with COVID-19
The shift from knowledge, to acceptance, to a change in our physical behaviours has been swift in recent weeks. We are all diligently washing our hands more, our kid’s hands, asking visitors to not touch our kids and staying away from anyone with cold or flu among a range of measures to keep our families well and safe since COVID-19 also known as coronavirus, began to dominate our days.
It was only a few weeks ago I visited a dear friend with her baby. She asked me not to kiss her baby. I thought it was a little over the top at the time. She was not thinking about COVID-19 because she was generally protecting her newborn baby from a range of potentially communicable diseases. I can see now that she was ahead of the curve and 100% correct to ask this of me.
Families are naturally sociable. Our children need social contact so it’s easier said than done when people suggest you self-quarantine. Staying at home is fine if you have one of those rare, quiet children that enjoy their own company. Social contact in playgrounds and daycare is how children learn and thrive. So where does this lead us as loving parents who care about our kid’s health and yet wanting to maintain some sense of normal family life. If you would like to get a recap of COVID-19 and remain concerned that your children may be at risk, we refer you to this excellent article from The Conversation.
Good hygiene and coronavirus
Good hygiene is universally acknowledged as the best way to avoid not just coronavirus but a range of communicable diseases such as influenza, colds, gastroenteritis among a range of childhood illness.
The number one prevention for contracting COVID-19 is handwashing. Have you noticed how aware of the thousands of items we touch every day? Kids are particularly tactile. Touching things, then their faces and then mouths happen more than at any other age.
We have always known it but this time it is important to take this seriously. Of all the tips, washing hands regularly with soap for 20 seconds remains the most ideal prevention method. Wearing gloves, masks and quarantine come close second but the evidence on the general public using these methods is thin on the ground. They are vital in medical environments where they are trained to use this equipment correctly and useful in short term situations.
Is it true that children are at low risk of contracting COVID-19?
Last week the media was reporting that children were at low risk of contracting the virus. Soon after, a child and newborn baby with the virus were reported. At the time of writing this article, one child in Australia has a confirmed COVID-19 infection. Only one newborn baby worldwide has the virus and it was contracted by its mother who contacted it a few days before she gave birth. Thank you goodness for these low numbers but it has heightened our awareness and allowed us to be more vigilant.
For most people, coronavirus will be a mild infection that will pass. If you have a previous health condition, particularly lungs and raspatory weakness, you are being advised to take extra precaution and care.
10 ways to protect your family from COVID-19
Use these suggestions as launching points for your own research.
These tips are a guideline and were taken from published information from reputable media and health departments in Australia, UK and USA up until March 15, 2020.
Advice on dealing with COVID-19, also known as coronavirus is changing daily. Please visit the health department website in your state for the most up to date information.
- Stay calm and keep hugging: Explain to your children what is happening but also explain how you are keeping them safe. Build on trust, calm and respect to reduce any anxiety. Continue to show your love with vital touches such as kissing and hugging if hands are washed when any adult or child returns home from school, work or outdoors.
- Wipe door handles: Wipe doorknobs in your home and car regularly with vinegar or a disinfectant you feel comfortable with. If a family member has been out of the house, get them to open doors with gloves or a cloth kept by the door until they can head straight to the bathroom to wash their hands before hugging each other. There are natural ways to disinfect door handles and the home. Research shows that good old soap and vinegar are excellent ways to kill bacteria. Buying chemicals is not always essential to protect your home. Our eco range of cleaning products has always been selected for safety and effectiveness.
- Touching: Ask people not to touch or kiss your baby if you meet them in the street and certainly ask them to wash their hands if they are visiting your home.
- Daycare and nursery: During the crisis, keep your kids at home if this is an option. If not, speak to your care provider about the extra precautions they are taking and how you can assist them. You absolutely must stay at home if you have a fever or cough. Even when this is inconvenient, it is vital to prevent the spread of any virus.
- Self-quarantine: Doctor surgeries and hospitals are at capacity during the current crisis. We are all being advised to be sensible, follow the advice shared by the health department in your country such as this advice from the department of health. Note that the updates on COVID-19 are changing daily so this link gives you information from 11 March 2020 which may be out of date by the time you read this article. Stay abreast
- Work: If there is an option to work from home, discuss how this can work with your employer.
- Cars: Wipe your steering wheel and doors regularly. Keep plain white vinegar or your preferred disinfectant in the car for wiping surfaces. Wash your hands before you leave the house and as soon as you get home.
- Wash your babies hands regularly as they touch everything! This is the hardest one as babies and children are on the go constantly!
- The Playground: Wear Gloves when travelling on public transport, playing at the park to avoid contamination from surfaces. Just remember to remove them before you touch your face! This is really hard at first but after a few days, we are getting pretty good at this one.
- Breastfeeding: This is a well-known natural way to fight infection so keep breastfeeding as long as you feel comfortable. If you have any concerns, we suggest you contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association or keep up to date advice from the Centre for Disease Control on safety during breastfeeding and pregnancy for up to date information.
If you would like to learn more about COVID-19 we recommend The World Health Organisation as an excellent resource.