Tips for a Safe, Fun Summer During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As COVID-19 vaccination rates rise, many people are beginning to return to normal summer activities. Though there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel, the pandemic is not yet over. The virus that causes COVID-19 continues to mutate, and scientists are working hard to learn more about how easily these variants spread, whether they cause more severe illness and whether currently authorized vaccines protect against them.
While recent data shows that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume some normal activity, many people remain unvaccinated, and a vaccine for children younger than 12 has yet to be authorized for use. It’s therefore critical to keep public safety measures in mind as you make your family’s summer plans.
From beach vacations to public pools to summer camp, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) experts weigh in on your most frequently asked questions and offer science-based advice on how to avoid unnecessary risks while still having much-needed summer fun. Check out the best Alpha heater reviews.
Is it safe to travel?
After spending more than a year cooped up at home, most of us are itching for a vacation. But is traveling safe?
According to the CDC’s most recent travel guidance, it is safe for fully vaccinated people to travel within the United States without testing or self-quarantining. Fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to physically distance or wear a mask outdoors or indoors, except where required by law. Families with unvaccinated family members should continue to follow safety measures in public, including wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, washing hands frequently and avoiding crowds. Here’s the latest guidance to help you choose safer activities.
If you plan to travel with unvaccinated family members, you can reduce your risk of COVID-19 infection by following these tips:
- Choose short road trips in a private vehicle with only members of your immediate household or fully vaccinated people. Bring your own food for fewer stops along the way.
- If you have to travel by plane, try to take a flight with no layovers, and go straight to the gate — skip the food court and gift shops
- Avoid long-distance bus trips and cruises
- If possible, choose a private rental home over multiunit lodgings like hotels
- Consider visiting a fully vaccinated family member’s home
- Choose takeout, drive-thru or curbside delivery over restaurants or self-service buffets. Even better — bring your own food.
- Pack extra supplies, like handwipes and sanitizer, and use them regularly. Make sure to wear your mask at all times and bring backups, plus a plastic bag to store wet or dirty masks.
- Stay informed about infection rates in the area you’re traveling to and be prepared to change plans if they increase
Can my child have play dates or go to the pool?
Social connections, whether over the internet or in-person, play an important role in a child’s development, and the isolation and loneliness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a detrimental effect on many children’s mental and behavioral health.
When deciding whether play dates are appropriate for your child, however, it can be helpful to weigh the risks of exposure against the benefits of finally interacting with others. If your family’s risk- and comfort level allows for in-person interactions, these tips can help minimize the risk of infection:
- Host one-on-one play dates rather than gathering in groups
- Keep the total number of contacts your child has (outside of your immediate household) small. Remember — more people means more risk.
- Keep play dates outdoors, if possible
- Encourage activities that require kids to move around and support physical distancing, such as a bike ride with a friend
- Make sure both children wear masks, both in- and outdoors
- Schedule play dates outside of mealtimes and avoid shared snacks
- Wash hands or use hand sanitizer regularly
- Swimming in a backyard pool with siblings or a few close friends is safer than a large community pool
- Sprinklers are another fun option for kids who want to cool off