Many families travel considerable distances to see relatives and other loved ones or to take a vacation. But traveling right now—whether by plane, train, bus or automobile—puts you and your family at increased risk for exposure to COVID-19.
Those vaccinated against COVID-19 are at lower risk for getting it—or getting severely Ill if they do get the virus. But if you have children under age 5, for whom a vaccine has not yet been approved, you’ll want to take special precautions when traveling—to help protect them from exposure.
Most children have had only mild cases of COVID-19, but some have been hospitalized and, more rarely, some have died. Babies and children under age 2 are at higher risk for hospitalization and severe illness with COVID-19—as are pregnant women, people over age 65 and people with serious medical conditions.
If You Do Travel ...
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following:
- Find out the rates of COVID-19 infection at your destination and in your own community before traveling. If you are coming from or headed to a hot spot, it may be wiser to stay put to avoid exposure to—or spreading of—the virus.
- Wear a mask and maintain social distance for the duration of your trip when using public transportation and while waiting in airports; train, bus or subway stations; or boat terminals.
- If you travel by car with people from outside your household, wear a mask and maintain social distance from others at any stops you make for gas, food, bathroom breaks, etc. Short trips with no stops are your safest bet.
- Wash your hands and your children’s hands regularly with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds). Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not immediately available. Supervise hand sanitizer use by toddlers: Rub a pea-sized amount into their hands until dry, and keep the hand sanitizer out of their reach when not in use. (Toddlers may try to swallow the sanitizer, which could cause alcohol poisoning).
- At your destination, wear a mask, wash hands regularly and maintain social distance from people not in your household.
- Remember: Children under age 2 should not wear a mask, which could pose a suffocation or strangulation risk. So be sure to keep them socially distanced (6 feet from people not in your household) when out in public and traveling.
More guidance on traveling from the CDC.
More on COVID-19 as it affects:
- Your toddler’s health
- Childcare or babysitters?
- Connecting with friends and relatives
- Traveling with your family
- Celebrating the holidays
- Your mental health and well-being
This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.
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