Summer is here, and it brings mixed emotions for parents. Let’s face it, this year has been a fire of stress and anxiety for parents navigating the pandemic. While some may feel relief, others are facing a new set of questions about how to keep your kids safe from COVID-19 in settings like campgrounds or during summer trips. When children have less structured time, some children may need to make more of their own health and safety choices.
Regardless of your plans or circumstances, we’ve put together a checklist to make it a little easier to keep track of all current recommendations on how to keep children safe from COVID. We hope this can make the difference between spoiled COVID plans and the summer fun we all need and deserve.
COVID Summer Safety Checklist
☑️ Keep up to date with vaccines
Everyone aged 6 months and older can now receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is an especially important layer of protection for young children, who aren’t able to do all the things older people can do to prevent the spread of germs, like keep a mask on, stay away from other people, or, frankly, don’t. put things in their mouths.
And even though children usually don’t get as sick as adults with COVID, they sometimes get serious infections. Children can also have long-term health problems with the virus, known as “long-term COVID.”
COVID-19 vaccines for children have been shown to be very effective in preventing serious illness, long-term symptoms, hospitalization and death. Is it possible that a child can still get COVID after a vaccination? Yes, but if they do, your infection will be milder and less contagious. And they will be well protected against the most serious health problems of COVID.
Children over 5 years of age should receive a booster dose if at least 5 months have passed since the second dose. The protection your child gets from a vaccine (or having had COVID) wears off over time, but a booster dose will keep the protection strong.
Public Health vaccination sites in Eastgate (Bellevue) and Auburn are now accepting same-day visits and appointments for infants and children over 6 months. For more informations: kingcounty.gov/vaccine.
☑️Outdoors is best: Increase ventilation and open windows when indoors
COVID spreads more easily indoors, so choose outdoor activities and meals when possible. And when your child is indoors, increase the airflow to dilute any potential viruses that are in the air. Open windows and doors. If you can, use a portable air filter or place a fan in the window to blow out contaminated air and draw fresh air into your home. Find out how you can improve the air quality in your home.
☑️Wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces
Right now, it’s still a good idea for children (and adults) to wear a high-quality (N95, KN95, KF94) face mask that is well-fitting in crowded indoor spaces. A high quality mask can reduce the risk of infection when they are in spaces that do not have good ventilation. This is especially important for immunocompromised or unvaccinated people and people who are not up to date on their vaccinations (including booster shots).
The free N-95’s are available from the federal government at select Walgreen’s and CVS pharmacies (check in advance to see if they are in stock).
☑️Follow CDC travel guidelines
Catching COVID while traveling can ruin your vacation and create more challenges coming home. Testing is no longer required for travelers, but to protect your family from COVID, check COVID-19 Community Levels to your destination before you go and follow local guidelines.
Do not travel if you:
- have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19
- are awaiting COVID-19 test results
- have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and are recommended for quarantine.
If you have had close contact with a person with COVID-19, but quarantine is NOT recommended:
- Take the test at least 5 days after your last close contact. Make sure your test result is negative and that you remain symptom-free before you travel.
- If you have confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days, you do NOT need to be tested, but you should still follow all other recommendations (including being tested if you develop symptoms of COVID-19).
To see complete guidance for international travel on the CDC website.
☑️Order your tests at home
Before the flurry of summer meetings and travel, now is a good time to stock up on tests at home.
You can order free quick test kits from:
If you have insurance, you can request a refund. Insurers will reimburse families for up to eight tests per month.
☑️Keep kids home when they are sick
COVID outbreaks are just as disruptive to day care, camps and other children’s programs as any parent of young children knows. All summer camps, day care and youth development programs must follow the same Washington Department of Health safety requirements and guidelines -19s like K-12 schools, and that includes keeping children home when sick.
Overnight camp operators must follow the Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 Guidance for Overnight Group Summer Camps and Similar Activities (wa.gov) which includes guidance on key strategies including testing and masking.
☑️ Be kind to yourself. We’re all doing our best.
Thank you parents and caregivers for doing everything you do to protect your children, other people’s children and the entire community! 💗
Originally Posted 7/8/22