We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19) from concerned parents and caregivers, who are asking everything from whether or not kids can still have playdates to if it’s okay to eat takeout. To help you, we’ve asked our doctors to answer some of the more common questions about COVID-19.

Can my child have playdates?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has not provided official guidance about playdates, so families will have to make their own decisions. It’s best to take into account factors like whether you live in an area with lots of virus circulating, whether you live with an older person or whether you yourself are at high risk of exposure through your job. Remember that people can be contagious before they show symptoms of COVID-19. It is important to remember that your efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are for the health of the community. If you choose to have playdates, it is best to limit them to the same two or three children, and do them outside as much as possible.

Can my child go to the playground?

What we know about COVID-19 indicates that the virus can live on hard surfaces for 2-3 days, so we recommend doing other outdoor activities such as taking walks or bike rides, rather than going to the playground.

Can my child’s babysitter come when we go to work?

Every family will have to make this decision individually. Some of the factors you may want to consider include: your babysitter’s age (are they older than 60 and at higher risk for getting very sick from the disease?) and whether or not there are members of your household that are age 60 and older and more susceptible to COVID-19. If so, you may want to be careful about having another person enter your home.

Our children’s grandparents live with us, what should we do about avoiding contact?

Contact between grandparents and grandchildren is particularly risky with this coronavirus. That’s because people aged 60 and older are at the highest risk of death from the disease. If you have the option of having grandparents live in a separate part of the house that may be something to consider. Alternatively, you could try to limit contact with others in order to reduce the risk of infection for the grandparents.

Is it safe to order takeout food?

Many restaurants have developed a takeout or curbside pickup option, and at a time when the economy is shut down, it’s important to support local businesses wherever we can. Check the restaurant website which will usually list information about how they are working to keep their employees and their food production safe, as you navigate what is the best decision for your family.

How can I help my child with learning and mental health during this time?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has the following suggestions:

  • Try to stick with normal waking and bedtime routines.
  • Be sure to schedule general times for learning, exercise and breaks.
  • Use media to connect with others (video chat with friends, family, etc.).
  • Being able to help allows kids to feel in control; reach out to friends and neighbors who may need help.

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