With the pandemic, children may not be going to community pools, where there would be lifeguards, and the home pool market has been booming. “A lot of people are getting new pools and first-time pools, so with that comes a responsibility for not only proper barriers and pool gates, but also proper supervision in an era of distraction,” Dr. Zonfrillo said.
Parents need to think about layers of safety, Dr. Agarwal said, such as having a four-foot tall fence around the entire pool, but also alarms. Parental supervision is key. “We recommend for younger children and not experienced swimmers that they should always be within arm’s reach,” Dr. Agarwal said. Parents should not assume they can rely on a lifeguard, who will have many swimmers to watch.
Even kiddie pools and shallow bodies of water can be dangerous, Dr. Zonfrillo said: “A toddler can drown in just a few inches of water.”
If you have a trampoline, supervise children carefully, follow all safety instructions, and make sure there is only one child on the trampoline at a time. Trampoline sales have gone up in the pandemic, and doctors have been very concerned about trampoline-related fractures and trips to the emergency room. “A bunch of kids on a trampoline can really cause a lot of injury,” Dr. Agarwal said.
Bikes, Scooters and ATVs
Be mindful of bike safety, be vigilant about helmets. And remember that kids can get badly injured on scooters and on all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs. ATVs are very common, especially in rural communities, Dr. Agarwal said, and nationally, about four children are seen in an emergency department every hour with ATV injuries. She recently treated a child who had taken “every single precaution,” she said. “He was on a designated ATV recreational area, he had a helmet, he was supervised, he had no passengers — and yet he still managed to roll over his ATV on himself.” Bottom line: Although she understands their appeal, Dr. Agarwal said, “Don’t put your kid on an ATV.”
Take the summer sun seriously: Keep children in the shade as much as possible, use hats and protective clothing in addition to sunscreen. Apply lots of sunscreen, reapply it every couple of hours, and after children go in the water. Make sure children stay hydrated, especially if they’re exercising. Children who are engaged in athletics should start hydrating before they go out to practice, Dr. Agarwal said, and if they haven’t been practicing during the shutdown, they should ease back in, and be particularly careful about hydration and heat exposure when they go back to practicing.
The Coronavirus Outbreak ›
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated August 4, 2020
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?
- As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that’s perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.
I’m a small-business owner. Can I get relief?
- The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don’t know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.
What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?
Should I refinance my mortgage?
- It could be a good idea, because mortgage rates have never been lower. Refinancing requests have pushed mortgage applications to some of the highest levels since 2008, so be prepared to get in line. But defaults are also up, so if you’re thinking about buying a home, be aware that some lenders have tightened their standards.
What is school going to look like in September?
- It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule this fall, requiring the grind of online learning, makeshift child care and stunted workdays to continue. California’s two largest public school districts — Los Angeles and San Diego — said on July 13, that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution won’t be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the nation’s largest, New York City, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending some days in classrooms and other days online. There’s no national policy on this yet, so check with your municipal school system regularly to see what is happening in your community.
Heat stroke is always a worry, especially vehicular heat stroke, which happens when small children are left in cars. Many doctors were worried that the pandemic might put children at additional risk, if parents who are reluctant to take them into stores leave them in vehicles. “In hot temperatures, the temperature in the car can rise within minutes,” Dr. Zonfrillo said. Ideally, parents should leave children at home while they do errands.