There are safe ways to protect infants from Coronavirus because they can also get it. In May a 1-year-old baby and an 11-month-old baby tested positive for COVID-19. Adults have been advised to wear masks to protect themselves from COVID-19. However, the WHO and CDC discourage putting masks on two-year-olds and below as it is dangerous. If infants are having difficulty breathing, they won’t be able to remove their masks and may suffocate.
Infectious Disease Specialist Dr Annemarie Macharia said the airways of infants are smaller and they do not process carbon dioxide(CO2) the same way as adults. Therefore, infants should not wear masks because breathing may be hindered. Apart from the breathing concerns, toddlers will most likely try to remove the masks as well as touch their faces. This may further expose them to the virus.
Protect infants from Coronavirus
KNH Dr Annemarie says Infants and toddlers can be protected from Coronavirus through exercising social distancing with other toddlers or even adults during this period. The immediate caregivers should also look after their own health as they carry the biggest risk of infecting their babies.
“They should exercise social distancing by keeping them well-spaced from other children. Issue the caregivers with a mask as they are the closest contacts. Minimize movements with infants, I’ve seen a lot of parents taking young children into the supermarket. If they have to leave the home, exercise social distancing of up to 2 metres from other people. Wash your hands before touching or handling your baby,” she said.
If infants must go outside, the outings should be as short as possible. If the baby is in a pram or baby carrier, the cover should be as light as possible and allows sufficient air inside. Children should not be left unattended.