As state economies begin to reopen, many families are considering their travel plans. Is it safe to travel on an airplane? How can you minimize the risk of exposure while you’re traveling, visiting attractions, or going to the beach?
Follow these tips as you iron out your family vacation plans.
Understand the Risks Where You Visit
Though state economies are reopening, and the curve is beginning to flatten in many areas, the risks of contracting COVID-19 while traveling are still present. Children don’t seem to develop COVID-19 as frequently as adults, but they can still develop symptoms. Reports of a multi-system inflammatory disorder in children, though rare so far, may still present a danger. To minimize risk, avoid travel to areas where the virus numbers are rising. Trips to participate in outdoor activities where maintaining social distancing is possible (hiking, beach trips) are safer than trips to crowded attractions (theme parks, museums).
Consider Wearing a Mask
The CDC still recommends that individuals over the age of two wear a nonmedical (i.e., cloth) mask where feasible. A cloth mask should fit snugly but allow for comfortable breathing without restriction. Be sure to use cloth masks in areas where maintaining social distancing is difficult (indoor public spaces such as grocery stores) and in areas with significant community transmission. In many areas of the country, executive order or local ordinance may require the use of nonmedical masks. Always know the rules of the areas in which you intend to visit.
Talk to Your Kids Beforehand
For many children, the changes caused by COVID-19 are a source of anxiety and confusion. Younger children may be afraid of seeing people in masks, while older children may be worried about the effect of the virus on their family. No matter the age, it is difficult for children to understand the complexities of the virus—and its effect on everyday life. Talk to your kids but keep it age-appropriate and empowering. Emphasize:
- The importance of CDC recommended measures, like frequent handwashing, regular disinfection of surfaces, and mask-wearing, to protect yourselves and others.
- That only a small percentage of those who contract COVID-19 become seriously ill.
Last, take a deep breath. Understand that the risk levels of travel differ depending on the destination (endemic area or less affected area) and the nature of the activity (outdoor-centric vacations versus visiting crowded attractions such as theme parks). Model protective behaviors such as handwashing and mask-wearing, and your children will be more likely to follow suit. Stay informed and consider alternatives—be ready to change your plans or cancel if it becomes necessary. Postponing a vacation until next year is another option to consider when reviewing the risks.
For additional questions, talk with your Pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of Franklin.