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growing babies

protecting your baby during the coronavirus pandemic

13 minutes

08/10/2020

It’s an uncertain time for the world at the moment. With the coronavirus pandemic dominating news headlines, people everywhere are feeling anxious and uneasy. We'd normally seek support from our loved ones and friends at a time like this but current health guidelines in the US mean we have to keep our distance at all times.

If you’re a new mom or dad or have a young child, you might be feeling especially apprehensive. Becoming a parent, whether for the first or fourth time, brings with it lots of natural concerns and when you add the worry of Covid-19 on top, already heightened emotions could increase further still.

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Parents everywhere are going through exactly what you are and wondering how to protect their baby and their loved ones.

Read on to learn more about caring for your baby, as well as tips on how to wash your baby's hands and how to ensure you stay protected too, as we work our way through the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus and protecting your baby – Tips for parents

We know how parents must be feeling, that’s why we’re doing what we can to help. Here we offer practical advice from healthcare experts on pregnancy and protecting your baby during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips on how to stay safe.

  • Cleaning your baby - how to wash your baby's hands

  • Social distancing tips

  • Protecting your baby with good hand and respiratory hygiene

  • Symptoms of coronavirus and what you should do

  • Children and masks for coronavirus

  • Where to stay informed about coronavirus

  • How to take care of yourself

As well as keeping your little one clean and safe, we've created some free coloring pages that you can download and print off. That should keep them busy during those days spent at home! We will also be adding more videos and information to this series regularly, so make sure you check back for more.

How to wash your baby's hands and keep them clean during the coronavirus pandemic

We know that keeping cleaning your baby (and keeping them clean) is easier said than done at the best of times but thorough hand washing is important in the fight against the virus and protecting your baby.

For good, effective handwashing, soap and water are best, but, adults can also use hand gel, providing it has a minimum of 60% alcohol content – anything less is ineffective against coronavirus. Do not use hand gel on a baby's skin though as it is too sensitive.

The current advice is to keep washing your hands for around 20 seconds1, or as long as it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice.

How to wash your baby's hands

Of course, new babies and toddlers are too small to wash their hands themselves, so it's recommended that you do it together, especially after being out in public.

When cleaning your baby, a good technique is to have two clean cloths – one soaked in soapy water, the other just in water. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Wring out the soapy cloth and rub it all over your little one’s hands, making sure to get in between their fingers. If they’ll let you, do this for 20 seconds with each hand.

  2. Once you’re finished, wipe away the soapy residue with the second cloth or a WaterWipes wipe, then dry their hands thoroughly with a clean towel.

  3. As a baby’s skin is delicate, it’s important to also use a gentle baby moisturizer after drying.

This same technique can be used for older children as well, or you can fill a bowl with soapy water, add some clean toys to distract them, then follow the same regime, making sure to get in between their fingers. The CDC has created an informative video2 as well on how to effectively wash your hands.

Then, as before, wash off the soap with clean water or a WaterWipes wipe, dry their hands thoroughly with a fresh towel, then moisturize with a gentle child’s moisturizer.

Concerned about cleaning your baby and how this might affect their delicate skin? Medical expert, @thegpmum offers some top tips and shows you how to effectively wash your baby's hands.

You can also read the World Health Organization’s article on how to wash your hands correctly3 for further guidance.

Why you should practice social distancing

Social distancing is a practice most of us had never heard of until recently, but it’s another vital measure to slow the spread of Covid-19. In this most unusual of wars, we can all be heroes – simply by following the correct advice.

However, young kids, especially, might struggle with the concept of social distancing, so try to reframe it for them.

Instead of “I can’t see my friends/grandparents”, get them to think along the lines of “I’m protecting my friends/grandparents”.

Teach them to socially distance themselves if you do need to leave the house by taking the lead and moving out of the way of others when necessary.

What are the current guidelines around social distancing?

The current US advice is to stay at home as much as possible, and if you do go out, to keep at least six feet away – around two-arms' length – from anyone who’s not in your immediate household.

If someone is sick in your household, you should also try to avoid direct contact with them if possible.

Caring for a newborn while social distancing

Caring for a newborn is hard work at the best of times, but with current events making it trickier than ever to access your support network, you might need a little extra help. The @themodernmidwife has again shared some top tips on how to care for your new arrival during these unprecedented times.

Hygiene tips to protect you and your child from coronavirus

There are a few things you can do when protecting your baby to reduce your risk of contracting the virus or spreading it to your little one.

Always wash your hands before touching your baby

This is something we are sure you did before the pandemic but it's never been more important to take time to wash your hands before touching your baby. Take 20 seconds to scrub them clean with soap and water or if you're out and about keep hand sanitizer on you at all times.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Try to avoid touching your face or the face of your baby/toddler unless you have washed your hands first. Depending on the type of surface, coronavirus can linger for hours, even days. The ears, nose, and mouth are where the virus enters your body, so if you touch a contaminated surface then touch your face, it increases your risk of infection.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Just like colds and flu, coronavirus is thought to spread through droplets of moisture that leave the body when you cough or sneeze.

So, catching these droplets is vital. If you cough make sure it’s into the crook of your elbow (not your hands) and if you sneeze, use a tissue (then dispose of it immediately). Try and encourage your toddler to do the same.

Keep surfaces as clean as possible

It's a good idea to wipe down surfaces your baby or toddler will be touching throughout the day to reduce the risk of coronavirus lingering on them.

Surfaces you should disinfect daily include:

  • Doorknobs

  • Countertops

  • Handles

  • Toilets

  • Faucets

  • Light switches

  • Phones

  • Remotes

  • Tables

  • Children's toys

The CDC has some recommendations4 when it comes to disinfecting your home when protecting your baby and you from the coronavirus. Look for these when shopping for a cleaning product to clean your home with and sterilize surfaces.

Coronavirus symptoms and what to do if you have them

You must remain alert when it comes to how this strain of coronavirus shows itself in the body. The main symptoms of Covid-19 are:

  • a new, continuous cough

  • a high temperature

  • later on in the illness, breathing difficulties or shortness of breath.

If you are experiencing one or all of these, the current advice is to stay at home and seek online medical support. You can use this Coronavirus self-checker tool5, to determine if you may be infected.

However, the following symptoms can also be indicators of Covid-19:

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

  • Muscle ache

  • A loss of or a change in taste and smell

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Sore throat

Please be reassured that current research shows6 that while babies and children aren’t immune to coronavirus, they are much less affected than other age groups.

Protecting your baby from coronavirus and when to wear a mask

The CDC recommends that children under the age of two7 do not wear a mask. This is because a mask poses the following risks to babies.

  • The material could suffocate a child under the age of two – they have smaller airways so may struggle to breathe and are unable to let you know if they are having trouble with the mask.

  • The elastic or string on some masks could come undone and become a choking hazard.

  • The baby or toddler may try to remove the mask, which will result in them touching their face more often, increasing the risk of them catching the virus.

However, if your child is above the age of two, consider buying a mask for them to wear when you are outside the house, in situations where social distancing is hard to maintain.

A cloth mask that has two layers of material is an effective solution. Disposable masks should only be used when necessary, as these can pollute the environment, while cloth masks can be washed and reused repeatedly.

The mask should completely cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly on yours and your child's face – if they are over the age of two. If you wear glasses, look for a mask with a nose clip that keeps it snug on your face to reduce fogging.

Pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic

We know that navigating your pregnancy, whether it’s your first or third child, can feel even more daunting during a pandemic. It’s important that you take care of yourself and ensure you are protected, for your safety and for the health of your baby. Follow the tips and guidelines above to stay safe.

The CDC notes8 that pregnant people may be at risk of becoming severely ill, should they contract the coronavirus. They suggest that pregnant people should limit contact with others and ensure you wear a mask and wash your hands.

It’s also very important that you don’t skip appointments such as prenatal care check-ups and if you are concerned about your safety, speak to your healthcare provider beforehand about your concerns and what they can do to protect you.

With these things in mind, you may find that you’re spending more time at home, away from friends and family.

This can lead to feeling isolated and so we spoke to healthcare professional @themodernmidwife who has provided some practical advice on putting self-care first during self-isolation, and what you can do to gain a bit of control over how you might be feeling.

However, we know that coping with self-isolation can be hard, especially if you’re expecting. It’s important to prioritize yourself and look after your mental health and wellbeing, as much as possible.

How to stay informed about the coronavirus

The advice around coronavirus is changing daily. It’s therefore important when protecting your baby, to keep up with the recommendations from established authorities, such as the WHO and the CDC. Your doctor will also be able to offer guidance.

By following the above precautions, you can rest assured that you are doing everything you can to keep your family safe – and everyone else, too. Life as we know it is on pause, but it won’t be forever.

We will get through this, and we will appreciate the little things so much more when we do.

We have lots more helpful reading for new parents, such as what you need to know about caring for your baby’s skin. There are also several resources available to help you understand what is going on with the coronavirus and what you need to be aware of. We've also featured a list below to consider:

How to take care of yourself

It's not just your little ones that need caring for. You also need to be aware of how you are feeling and ensure you are taking care of your needs too.

We know that in the last few months we have all had to change our ways and routines and have had to adapt to the 'new normal', which has brought on different challenges and may have created stress for some parents.

This is why we have teamed up with psychologist Dr. Clodagh Campbell (@the.wellness.psychologist) to bring you some helpful tips and advice on how you can alleviate stress during these uncertain times.

Dr. Clodagh Campbell's 4 tips for reducing stress during a pandemic

  • Practice self-care – Dr. Campbell recommends exercising, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep as the basics of self-care. However, self-care looks different for everyone. For some it could be taking time out to be alone and relax, for others it's safely speaking to or seeing family. Practicing self-care can boost happiness and help you be a better parent to your children. If you're happy, they're happy!

  • Take things one day a time – Don't look too far ahead in the future and remember, there will be and. Take this time to look into mindfulness and focus on being present in the moment.

  • Take breaks from work if working from home – If you're working from home and juggling childcare, find some time to spend with your children. Get down on the floor and play with them, take time away from your screen and find a better work-life balance

  • Be gentle with yourself – Try not to put too much pressure on yourself and always celebrate the small wins.

Free coloring pages for kids

Need a little time to yourself? You can keep the kids entertained with our free coloring pages. These easy to download and print pages should keep them occupied during days spent at home. Click HERE to get yours.

WaterWipes stock updates during the coronavirus pandemic

Wondering where you can get your hands on WaterWipes to keep your little one clean and safe? We've answered your questions below.

1. Where can I buy WaterWipes products?

Please click here for a list of where to buy our products in-store and online.

2. What can I do if I can't find any stock?

Please use cotton wool and water as this is closest to our product in terms of purity. We are currently producing our wipes at record levels and are working with our distributors and retailers to get these to you as quickly as possible so you have one less thing to worry about. Thank you for your patience.

3. Can I buy directly from you?

Unfortunately, we don’t sell directly to the public and do not have the facilities to do so.

Take a look at our range of articles about caring for your baby, pandemic or not, from how to deal with sleep deprivation to our newborn checklist to the signs that your baby is going through a growth spurt. You can find all our articles for parents right here.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, How to Protect Yourself and Others, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html [Last accessed 9th September 2020]

  2. Centers for Disease Control, What you need to know about handwashing, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d914EnpU4Fo, [Last accessed 9th September 2020]

  3. World Health Organization, Clean Hands Protect Against Infection, https://www.who.int/gpsc/cleanhandsprotection/en/ [Last accessed 9th September]

  4. Centers for Disease Control, Cleaning and Disinfection for Households, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html [Last accessed 10th September 2020]

  5. Centers for Disease Control, Coronavirus Self Checker, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/coronavirus-self-checker.html, [Last accessed 9th September 2020]

  6. Centers for Disease Control, Frequently Asked Questions: Children, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#Children [Last accessed 9th September 2020]

  7. Centers for Disease Control, Covid-19 and Children, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#COVID-19-and-Children, [Last accessed 9th September]

  8. Centers for Disease Control, If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or caring for young children, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html#:~:text=Based%20on%20what%20we%20know,with%20COVID-19., [Last accessed 10th September 2020]

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