How To Take Care Of Children When Outdoors

Dr Titty Mary Thomas, Specialist Family Medicine, Aster Clinic - JLT

The one doubt all parents have is ‘Can I take my child to public places?’ The general advice is to practice all safety measures as explained for adults and social distancing, which means sticking close to home and avoiding large groups of people. You can’t be sure that popular public spaces like playgrounds are completely risk-free yet.

For city dwellers like us, it is recommended going to big, open parks when available, where kids can practice physical distancing. Remember there are other options for solo outdoor play, like riding on a cycle or playing with family members.

As always, encourage children to wash their hands when they come home from outside, and before and after meals. There’s some evidence that paper towels are more hygienic than hand dryers in public bathrooms. Hand washing is also more effective than a hand sanitizer, though hand sanitizer can be used when washing hands is not an option.

With the restrictions easing across geographies, going outside can be a great idea for both the physical and mental health of the family members and yourself, however all safety measures need to be followed.  

  • Be careful about what you touch as you go outside or return home
  • Carry a hand sanitizer so that you can disinfect your hands while you are out, if needed.
  • Choose the best outdoor space. Your own yard is best, but that isn’t an option for everyone. Ideally, you should go somewhere where you wouldn’t encounter lots of other people.
  • Maintain the physical distancing while you are outdoors. The chances of you catching something from someone as they pass you is quite small, but it’s best to give the widest distance between one another.
  • Go outdoors only with the people that you live with
  • Don’t touch too many things. So, no playing on fixed equipments in the playground, sitting on benches, sharing toys, or touching signposts or mailboxes or anything else. You just don’t know who has touched it or when. Using the hand sanitizer can help to keep hands disinfected regularly.
  • Bring masks along. Hopefully they will stay in your backpack with your water bottles and snacks, but if keeping physical distance between you and others becomes difficult at any point, you can whip them out and put them on. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under 2 shouldn’t wear masks for safety reasons, but everyone else should have a mask on — or have their faces covered, at all times.