With the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, we here at Swiss Cheese feel that it is important to share some information to help you and your children make sense of the risk and what sorts of preventative measures you can take. It is important to remember that, while the risk to adults can be serious, according to the CDC, “From limited information published from past Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreaks, infection among children was relatively uncommon…. children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms, and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon.”
While the risk to children is minimal, there are some preventative measures recommended by the CDC and American Red Cross that you and your family can take to help limit the spread of this disease:
- Remind your children when coughing or sneezing to do it into a tissue. If no tissue is immediately available, they should cough or sneeze into their sleeve, not their hand.
- Disinfect surfaces in the house, especially ones that are frequently touched such as doorknobs and touchscreens. The American Red Cross recommends the follow cleaning schedule:
o After each use: Clean and sanitize changing tables, mouthed toys, counters used for food or
brushing teeth, tables used for eating, dishes, and utensils. o Daily: Clean and sanitize toilets, sinks, kitchen surfaces (floors, counters, tables), waste cans, toys
and surfaces in rooms your child uses the most, doorknobs.
- Wash hands frequently using warm, running water and soap.
o 1. Wet hands o 2. Put soap on hands o 3. Lather hands out of the water for at least 20 seconds (a handwashing song is attached) o 4. Rinse off all soap under running water from wrists to fingertips o 5. Dry hands (preferably with a paper towel)
- Keep your child at home if sick with any illness
- Be prepared if your child’s school or childcare facility is temporarily dismissed
o Keep track of school dismissal updates o Talk to your school about options for digital and distance learning o Discourage children and teens from gathering in other public places while school is dismissed o Seek guidance from your school administrator to determine when students and staff should
return to schools
(taken from Child Care Health and Safety Training handbook by the American Red Cross, 2002)
Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands
(Sung to the tune of “Row Row Row Your Boat”):
Wash, wash, wash your hands,
Play your handy game.
Rub and scrub and scrub and rub,
Germs go down the drain.