As big brothers and sisters return to school, it’s important to remember the younger siblings and how in-person school during this pandemic can affect them.
Risks for Younger Children
While studies show COVID-19 is usually not as harmful to younger children, the new Delta variant has seen increases in cases and severity for young kids. Also, babies under 1 year of age have always been considered more at risk than young children who are over a year old. If you are expecting a baby or have a newborn in the home, it will be especially important to create a game plan for the risk as older siblings return to school and a plan for exposure.
If you are Pregnant or Preparing to Adopt a Newborn
Talk with your doctor about your postpartum plan to keep your baby safe. There have been variances in guidelines throughout this pandemic especially when considering mothers who have been exposed or test positive for COVID prior to, during, or immediately after giving birth. Some recommendations include separating mother and baby, but the CDC currently suggests rooming-in with baby at the hospital rather than separation as the benefits of mother-baby bonding remain essential.
However, it is beneficial to have an alternative plan in place in case mom is too ill to care for baby or if baby is discharged before mom.
At home with baby
Postpartum, or if your baby is already at home but is under 1 year of age, you will need to have a plan for if your school-age children are exposed to or contract COVID-19. Work with your pediatrician to determine the best course of action for your family to help keep baby safe.
Encourage school-age children to social distance from baby if possible, wash hands frequently, and wear a mask when interacting with baby. And, you can talk with your pediatrician about vaccination for eligible children if that is right for your family.