This is something that I am struggling with lately…
As soon as the CDC announced that vaccinated people could leave their masks off inside, a lot of parents thought their summer vacation plans were over. Because if you have a kid younger than 12, they’re not vaccinated yet, so is it safe to travel with them? I have a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old.
Traveling is good stress relief for little ones as well and they really need it this year, just like the rest of us. And doctors and infectious disease experts aren’t recommending kids spend another summer at home isolating. So taking a trip with unvaccinated kids comes down to taking calculated risks and being reasonable, practical and informed and these steps can help.
- Get vaccinated yourself – While there’s still a risk of contracting COVID if you’re vaccinated, the numbers are low. Since more and more folks are getting vaccinated, rates of infection are going down and the world is safer for our unvaccinated kids.
- Stick with the old rules – We’re talking pre-vaccine safety rules of social distancing and wearing masks. Staying outside instead of inside whenever possible helps unvaccinated kids as well. Even if there are no mask mandates in place, it’s on you to do risk assessment with your family.
- If you travel by plane – There haven’t been any known COVID super-spreader events from an airplane, but as airlines are packing passengers in again, the risk isn’t zero. Crowded airport terminals and crowded gate areas are the biggest areas where transmission can occur, so if you can fly at off-peak times and days and avoid the crowds, do it.
- And if you’re driving – Traveling by car means you come into contact with fewer people, but you still have exposure when stopping for food, bathroom breaks or overnight stays. When you do make a pit-stop, keep it short and sweet and eat outside or in the car when you can.
- Check the COVID “weather” – Before your trip, get a sense of the number of cases and vaccination rates in your destination area. If the location has a high rate of spread, be extra cautious in public and remember outdoor activities are safer than inside ones.