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Dr. Ray Answers Your Questions About Kids and Coronavirus

Dr. Ray QA

We asked families: What questions do you have for KinderCare’s health and safety expert, Dr. Ray, about kids and coronavirus? Check out his answers below!

Q: What’s the best way to boost my toddler's immune system?

A: As a parent, you always strive to keep your child healthy through diet and exercise. Caring for their immune system is no different. Provide healthy foods, especially fruits and veggies, and find opportunities for exercise, whether you’re inside or out! Do your best to maintain a regular sleep schedule and stay hydrated with water or milk. Try also reading more about immune-boosting foods that your little one will love.

Q: What’s your best advice for parents of children who are getting restless and tired of being at home? 

A: Staying home can make any child—or adult—feel restless. There’s still plenty you can do to get out of the house while you’re sheltering in place. Take a trip to a local park to stretch your legs while maintaining a safe distance from others. Though many playgrounds are closed, you can make outdoor time fun for your child in other ways! If you have a step counter, set a goal and have your child help you track it. And check out KinderCare’s Learning Hub for more educational outdoor activities for kids of every age.
If you’re venturing outdoors, adults should wear masks. Use your best judgement on whether your child should wear a mask (sometimes wearing a mask can make children more prone to touching their face). Wearing a mask is not recommended for children younger than 2 years old. Wash your hands with your child when you return home!

Q: If kids under 2 shouldn’t wear a face mask, is there another way to protect them if they need to go out in public (like a doctor’s visit)?

A: The best way to keep you and your little one safe is to practice physical distancing. Call ahead to your doctor’s office and ask if they’re accommodating physical distancing in their waiting room. Make sure exam tables are wiped, and disposable paper is placed down between patients. Wash your hands with your child often and when you return home.

Q: Should we wear masks when we go outside on walks?

A: If you’re going to be in the vicinity of others (say within 20 feet), the answer is yes. Masks are not recommended for children 2 years old or younger. Make sure to maintain proper physical distance from others while you’re out for a walk and wash your hands when you get home!

Q: What’s the best way to talk to my child about COVID-19? How do I help my child understand big changes, like not going to school?

A: Disruption to a routine can be confusing for children. When you talk with them, use simple words or phrases to help them understand that all these changes are to keep them safe. Give them a chance to ask questions and provide simple and brief answers. You may find that small explanations are sufficient. Here’s more about how to talk to your child about coronavirus.

Q: If children tend to need nebulizers, are they more susceptible?

A: Health experts believe that folks with asthma are at a higher risk. Thankfully, however, this virus is not impacting children nearly as seriously as the seasonal flu. So think of the precautions you would take to protect your child against seasonal flu. Stay home except for essential trips, maintain proper physical distance when you leave your home, wash your hands, and consider having your child wear a mask if they’re over the age of 2. 

Q: Can babies get COVID-19? My 3-year-old is sick and I’m worried. 

A: Health experts have found that people of all ages can contract the coronavirus. Thankfully, the virus doesn’t seem to impact children in the same way it does adults. Monitor your child’s symptoms and consult their doctor by phone first. Like KinderCare’s health and safety measures, at this time, it’s probably best to keep your child home until they are symptom-free without medication for at least 72 hours.

Q: Why are the elderly and people with underlying health conditions more at risk for coronavirus than children?

A: This is a question that scientists and health care providers are still trying to understand. As we get older, our immune systems take more time to respond to viruses. Elderly people are also more likely to have chronic health conditions, which can make it harder to overcome an infection. 

Q: Question for KinderCare: When centers reopen, what will the “new normal” look like?  Will there be additional safety measures in place?  

A: KinderCare is staying close to the latest guidance from health experts and the CDC on how to respond to this pandemic. We’re adopting new health and safety measures in our essential care centers and continue to work with Dr. Ray to adapt our policies. When the time comes to reopen our closed centers, we’ll continue to update and evolve our approach. 

Find more tips and actionable advice on our Dr. Ray resource page.

Be sure to learn more about Dr. Ray and how he’s guiding KinderCare’s response to coronavirus.