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Can babies get COVID-19?

As coronavirus becomes something that we may need to live with for the rest of our lives, it’s important to know all of the ins and outs. Whilst it has consumed our lives for over a year, there are still many questions that are unanswered. One of these questions is “can babies get COVID-19? In simple terms, yes, they can. However, it’s not extremely common and we do have some great advice as to what to do if your baby or child gets coronavirus and what you can do to prevent it.

It’s important that in times like these, you should try not to worry too much about your baby or child catching COVID-19. Instead, focus on the things you can do that will keep your little ones safe. If you’re doing everything you can to protect them, that is the best you can do. 

We will speak about how easy it is for children and babies to get coronavirus and what to do if you start noticing symptoms. We understand that this is a very scary time for all parents with babies and young children, but we hope that we can make you feel much more at ease.

can babies get covid

Can newborn babies get coronavirus?

In very rare cases, mothers have been able to pass COVID-19 onto their babies. This can happen whilst the baby is still in the womb as well as shortly after they are born. 

In the majority of cases, the babies have had either very mild symptoms or none at all, meaning there has been very little risk to their health. However, there have been a few cases that have been more serious. 

Because of this, it’s important that pregnant women take extra precautions whilst they are pregnant and close to their due date to ensure their baby is not as risk of getting coronavirus. These precautions involve social distancing, wearing a mask, handwashing and communicating regularly with your midwife or doctor to give them updates as to how you’re feeling.

If you are pregnant and do start experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, you should contact your doctor straight away to get their advice. You will most likely be told to go and get a test to confirm if you have coronavirus. If positive, actions will need to be taken to ensure you are kept safe and that your baby is kept healthy.

can babies get covid

Can children get coronavirus?

Children can get coronavirus as easy as adults can. The difference is that the majority of young children do not show any symptoms at all, but still carry the virus. This means it is much easier for them to transmit the disease to other people without knowing at all. Not only does this put you at risk, it is also dangerous for other family members, friends or people with underlying health conditions. 

There have been rare cases where children have suffered serious side effects from COVID-19 and this has unfortunately led to some deaths. Although you may think your child is perfectly heathy and able to fight coronavirus, it’s always important to take safety precautions in the case that they have a condition you do not know about yet.

If children are exposed to Covid-19, it can cause implications for the future. It’s been found that MIS-C is related to children who have had COVID-19. We will go into more depth about this later in the blog.

What symptoms should I look out for in babies and children?

Just like some adults, a lot of babies and children don’t show any signs of COVID-19 at all. This means you may not ever know if your child actually had it. However, in some cases, children and babies will show at least 1 symptom. 

The symptoms of coronavirus have expanded as we have learnt more about it. This means that even if your child has a common cold, it can leave you thinking they have COVID-19. If you child is showing one of these symptoms and you feel concerned, it’s best to seek more help to find out what actions you should take next…

  • Fever or chills
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Congestion or a runny nose
  • New fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough

The most common symptoms of coronavirus are a cough and a fever, but that doesn’t mean your child will show them. If you notice your child has a new symptom on the list, stay alert and keep an eye on them. If this progresses or doesn’t go away, you should seek extra care.

can babies get covid

Symptoms can become worse over time and this is when you may need to seek emergency medical care such as calling 999. Children find it much harder to fight of illnesses and infections. Therefore, if you notice any of the below, you should call 111 or 999 right away to get further help and advice.

  • Not waking up properly
  • Being sick and not being able to keep liquids down
  • A bluish colour on their lips
  • Difficulty breathing

Is my child or baby more at risk of catching COVID-19?

Just like adults, if your baby or child has a health condition, they are more at risk of getting a more serious case of COVID-19. Any baby or child can catch the virus, but it can be worse in little ones who have existing illnesses or conditions. Not only this, when babies are very young, they cannot fight of infections as well as everybody else. If your child falls under one of the below, you should take extra safety precautions to protect them from COVID-19. In the case that they do get the virus, they may require medical care in hospital.

Take extra safety precautions if:

  • Your child/baby is under 2 years old.
  • Your child’s ethnicity is black or Latino. There have been studies that show these children are more likely to suffer from health disparities.
  • Your child/baby was born prematurely.
  • They have health conditions relating to their lungs.
  • Your child is overweight.
can babies get covid

What is MIS-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome)?

MIS-C is a condition that has been linked with children and babies who have had COVID-19. It is a condition that can have serious effects on the body and is something you should be aware of if your child has had the virus. This condition commonly appears in children from 2-15.

If you notice that your child has any of these symptoms below, you should contact a doctor right away. It may be nothing to worry about but is better to get your child checked over.

  • Red eyes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Red and cracked lips
  • New fatigue
  • Swollen hands or feet

How can I protect my baby or child from COVID-19?

Protecting children and babies involves different safety precautions. If your child is mobile and can run around on their own, they will have different precautions to a newborn baby.

If you have a newborn or very young baby, you can protect them by not allowing other people to hold them or touch them. This can be hard around friends and family member but is the best way to protect your baby. At this age, it is not safe for your baby to wear a mask and they are still in a developmental stage. Instead, keeping them a safe distance from other people is the best precaution to take. 

As a parent, it’s important that you regularly wash your hands and also keep a safe distance from others. It’s best to also avoid big crowds and events so that you don’t risk passing the virus across to your baby.

With slightly older children and toddlers, there are different safety precautions to take, as it’s them who will most likely be touching more and getting closer to other children.

can babies get covid

Your child won’t understand COVID-19 so it can be difficult to explain why they should stay away from their friends and try not to touch too much. However, hand washing is something your child should learn even without COVID-19 so this should be heavily pushed.

Other things you can do to protect your children from COVID-19 are:

  • Try and maintain a small distance from other children – this can be difficult. 
  • Check what social distancing measures their nursery or school has in place.
  • Limit how often your child meets up with other children – try and explain in the best way to them why this is.
  • Keep a safe distance from children who have health conditions as COVID-19 could be critical to them.

Restrictions are regularly changing so you may not need to do some of these that we have suggested. However, if your child is vulnerable, you may continue to follow some of these even after they are dropped by the government.

Aside from keeping a distance from other children, other things you can do to protect your child are wearing a mask and washing your hands and their hands regularly.

What about protecting my home during coronavirus?

Children tend to touch a lot, so if they have been out and about, who knows what they have put their hands on! There are a few things you can teach your children and do inside your home to ensure you keep it a safe space for your children to run around and play. These include: 

  • Wipe down surfaces and toys regularly. This is especially important if your child has taken one f their favourite toys outside of the house.
  • Coughing and sneezing. Try to teach your little ones to sneeze and cough into the inside of their elbow to prevent getting germs over their hands. This then can be used inside of the home as well as outside when they are with friends.
  • Avoid touching your face. Kids are always touching their faces and putting fingers into their mouths. Teach them about the germs from their hands and try and help them get out of the habit.

By doing all of these things and teaching your children the best that you can, you will help prevent coronavirus. If you are following all of the precautions, that is the best you can do to protect yourself as well as your children.

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