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Kids and coronavirus: What’s safe and what isn’t? Pediatrician provides answers

LOS ANGELES — Parents, you have a lot of questions when it comes to your kids. What’s safe? What’s not?

Dr. Cara Natterson, a pediatrician in the Los Angeles area, answers the most common questions she is getting from her patients.

Question 1: I want to start loosening the rules for my kids. What is safe and what is not? 

“Staying home and staying with your germ family is safest. Those are all the people under your roof that all share the same germs. Staying within that very small group as much as possible is the very safest.”

Doctor Natterson says if you are going to let your kids meet up with their friends, make sure they keep their distance and are outside.

“It’s better to be outside than inside because you have endless capacity for the virus to float away from you as opposed to inside where the virus may recirculate.”

Question 2: When children finally return to school, what will it look like? 

“So the answer to what is it going to look like is we don’t know and anyone who says different I think is not the best resource because we don’t know.”

But what could it look like?

“Some schools will have remote learning. They may toggle back and forth one day remote, one day on campus. Desks may be six feet apart or more. Kids may stay in a classroom all day and the teachers rotating to them. You may have kids eating lunch in a classroom. I think you’re going to see testing protocols are part of returning to school.”

Question 3: My teenager wants to go out on a date. What do I do? 

“This has been a really tricky one for parents. It is going to be different in every single home and the best thing a parent can do is not judge another parent.”

Doctor Natterson who has two teenagers as well suggests letting them go out on dates but ensure social distancing.

“As our kids start to interact more, I think we need to recognize that we can open up our germ family. Our germ family over the next several months will have to become a slightly bigger circle.”

Question 4: My child wants to have a sleepover with their friends? Should I let them? 

“Kids are begging for sleepovers and I get it. But the question I ask when they are considering caving on sleepovers is why?”

She suggests letting them play – mostly outside – then everyone goes home and sleeps in their own beds.

“That reduces the risk because the risk of spreading coronavirus is just a simple math equation: it’s how much virus you’re exposed to times time.”

Question 5: My child keeps asking me how long will we be in quarantine? What should I say to them?

“The most important words any doctor can say to a patient is now what we can say to a child, ‘I don’t know.’ It’s okay to tell your kids you’re not sure you can also say it’s going to end one day I promise.”

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