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How to protect a toddler from coronavirus: 6 tips from a doctor

To protect your baby and prevent the spread of coronavirus, clean your home continuously, especially the areas that are highly used.

Published: April 22, 2020 4:48:53 pm
coronavirus, handwashing Maintaining good hygiene is important. (Source: Getty Images)

By Dr Ravi Kyadegeri

Declared as a pandemic, coronavirus has been spreading geographically at an exponential speed. The first case of the coronavirus was identified in Wuhan, China. Since then, the disease has spread across countries like the United States, Italy, Africa, Japan, India, etc.

As a parent, you want to do everything possible for protecting your babies and toddlers from coronavirus. Here, we provide you with six tips to do the same:

1. Teaching and practicing hand hygiene

There is still so much that we don’t know about the coronavirus and how it is spreading. However, the one thing that every expert agrees on is that maintaining good hygiene is important. Your child learns by watching you. So, you have to follow good hygiene habits like washing your hands the proper way, not touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and covering your nose and mouth while sneezing. Make your child wash their hands after coming home, using the toilet and before eating. They should be washing their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water.

Using a hand sanitiser is not as good as washing your hands with soap and water. It is not even able to get the visible dirt off the hands of your child, let alone the germs. Also, sanitisers only work if they dry, which your child might not be patient enough for. So, it is important that you don’t rely on a hand sanitiser before letting them eat. However, in case of emergencies, hand sanitisers can be used.

2. Remind your children not to shake hands

It is important that you avoid handshakes to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. You might think that it is not important to remind your child to avoid this, but this is a common practice among young children. Tell them why they need to avoid this so that they have a better understanding of what is going on.

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3. Stock up on the essentials

If your baby is small, you need to stock up on essentials like wipes, diapers, and some over-the-counter medications. If your child has asthma, make sure that you have a couple of spare inhalers. Buy the necessary medical supplies and the prescribed medications. Apart from the medicines, you should also buy two week’s worth of baby food like cereal.

4. Avoid going into highly-trafficked places

Coronavirus spreads via the air in tiny droplets that are produced when a person affected by the disease breathes, coughs, sneezes or talks. When people are within six feet of each other, viruses spread more easily. If you live in an area where there has been a confirmed case of coronavirus, you should avoid going out altogether, especially to highly trafficked places like malls or libraries.

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5. Clean your home regularly

To protect your baby and prevent the spread of coronavirus, clean your home continuously, especially the areas that are highly used. This includes toys, phones, tablets, staircase railings, and the refrigerator door. For maximising effectiveness, the surface should be left wet for 15-30 seconds.

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6. Maintaining cough/respiratory hygiene

While coughing, make sure to use a tissue. Throw the tissue immediately. If you don’t have one, you can bend your elbow and use it for covering your mouth. Teach your child to do the same.

(The writer is Consultant Paediatrics and Neonatology, Apollo Cradle, Jayanagar.)

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