By: Best Starts for Kids
Written by Annika Hofstetter MD PhD MPH, Doug Opel, MD, MPH, Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
The COVID-19 pandemic has truly upended how we normally live our lives. Every day brings new challenges and questions for parents to figure out. Amidst a lot of uncertainty, it is important to review these ways to protect yourselves and your loved ones during COVID-19. This includes focusing on the essentials during the current Stay Home – Stay Healthy order, such as washing our hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds, getting plenty of rest, going for walks (while avoiding others), and keeping in touch with family and friends through phone or video calls.
One thing also remains clear: vaccinations continue to be one of the best ways to protect your children’s health, now and into the future.
Bringing your child to the doctor’s office for check-ups is important even during the Stay Home order.
For parents and caregivers, it is important to continue to bring children in for their wellness check-ups with their doctor. Wellness check-ups allow your child’s doctor to assess your child’s growth, nutrition, and development. Another important part of wellness check-ups are vaccines. Vaccinations help keep children safe.
Most clinics have made wellness check-ups for young children a top priority. Many clinics are now also making wellness check-ups for school aged children and teenagers a priority.
Need help finding a doctor, clinic, or other health resources?
Doctors and clinics are adapting to provide safe environments for families
Doctors’ offices have made many changes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is low and that families feels safe. Many offices are only offering well child appointments. Other offices are offering well child appointments in the morning and sick child appointments during the afternoons, with a deep clean overnight. That means you don’t have to worry about sharing a waiting room with someone who may have COVID-19.
We checked in by phone and stayed outside until ready, then were taken to a room straight away, which was sanitized after we left. It was reassuring to see all the steps the office was taking to minimize exposure.– mother of a 14 month old boy
Talk to your doctor’s office about what measures they are taking to keep you and your child safe. If you need to use the bus or another form of public transportation to get to your child’s doctor’s office, mention this to your doctor. If you need to go to the laboratory or pharmacy, talk to your doctor about how to minimize your child’s exposure to others by staying in the clinic room until the service is ready for your child. If you or another one of your child’s guardians is at elevated risk for severe COVID-19 illness, talk to your child’s doctor about ways to decrease exposure prior to your visit. If a parent is in a high-risk category, please limit exposure. If possible, have another trusted caregiver bring in your child and then join the doctor visit via phone or FaceTime.
Don’t delay bringing your child to see their doctor. Doctor visits help keep your children healthy during COVID-19.
Continue to bring your child to the clinic for vaccinations
Through vaccines, you have the power to protect your child from 16 different diseases by the time they’re a teenager. Some vaccines need multiple doses to build up your child’s immunity. Even with the Stay Home order, the benefits of vaccinating children far outweigh any risks of COVID-19. Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, but also help keep other children, older adults and other vulnerable community members safe. We can protect our families from COVID-19 while also vaccinating to prevent outbreaks of other diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough. It is rare for COVID-19 to cause children to become severely ill, but vaccine preventable diseases can be very serious.
Not sure if your child is up to date on their vaccines?
Access their immunization record for free at wa.myir.net/register.
- The COVID-19 and Immunizations webpage includes downloadable flyers in English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Somali, Russian and Vietnamese.
- WCAAP Guidance: Telehealth Well Child Care During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Well Child Visits During COVID-19 Pandemic
Originally published on May 27, 2020.