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Children & Pregnant Women Guidance
What is the risk of children becoming sick with COVID-19?
Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have had severe illness with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date (96%).
How does COVID-19 impact babies, young children, and teens?
Children seem to have milder forms of the illness. Symptoms in kids under 18 years of age range from infection without symptoms to mild upper respiratory symptoms with runny nose and cough, to pneumonia requiring hospitalization.
Children and babies with underlying health conditions may experience more serious COVID-19 infections, especially those with problems that impact the heart or lungs or the ability to fight infection.
How can you protect children from COVID-19 infection?
You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.
- Clean hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing).
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g., tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks).
- Children 2 years and older should wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when in public settings where it’s difficult to practice social distancing. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
Are the symptoms of COVID-19 different in children than in adults?
No. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special health care needs. There is much more to be learned about how the disease impacts children.
What is the risk to pregnant women of getting COVID-19?
Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with the disease? If they become infected, will they be more sick than other people?
Based on current information, pregnant women appear to have the same risk of COVID-19 as adults who are not pregnant. We do know that pregnant women have had a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses that are similar to COVID-19, as well as other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza. We also know pregnant women have changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. Therefore, if you are pregnant, it is always important for you to try to protect yourself from illnesses whenever possible..
How can pregnant women protect themselves from getting COVID-19?
Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue or cough into your elbow and clean your hands.
- Avoid people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus.
- Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet away from people who do not live in your home.
- Wash your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 disease at CDC’s (Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus).
Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy?
It is not known at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.
Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn?
It is not known if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. Some babies have tested positive for the virus shortly after birth, however, it is unknown if these babies got the virus before, during, or after birth.
If a pregnant woman has COVID-19 during pregnancy, will it hurt the baby?
It is unknown at this time what if any risk is posed to infants of a pregnant woman who has COVID-19. There have been a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or delivery (e.g., preterm birth) in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy. However, it is not clear that these outcomes were related to the virus.
Are infants born to mothers with COVID-19 during pregnancy at increased risk for adverse outcomes?
Based on limited case reports, adverse infant outcomes (e.g., preterm birth) have been reported among infants born to mothers positive for COVID-19 during pregnancy. However, it is not clear these outcomes were related to maternal infection, and at this time the risk of adverse infant outcomes is not known. Given the limited data available related to COVID-19 during pregnancy, knowledge of adverse outcomes from other respiratory viral infections may provide some information. For example, other respiratory viral infections during pregnancy, such as influenza, have been associated with adverse neonatal outcomes, including low birth weight and preterm birth. Additionally, having a cold or influenza with high fever early in pregnancy may increase the risk of certain birth defects. Infants born preterm and/or small for gestational age have been reported among infants born to mothers with other coronavirus infections, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, during pregnancy.
Can women with COVID-19 breastfeed?
We do not know for sure if mothers with COVID-19 can spread the virus to babies in their breast milk, but the limited data available suggest this is not likely. They should:
Yes. Close contact and early, exclusive breastfeeding help a baby to thrive. You should be supported to:
- Breastfeed safely, with good respiratory hygiene,
- hold your newborn skin-to-skin, and
- share a room with your baby.
Last updated: 6/17/2020