A newborn’s immune system takes months to develop and still requires vaccines to strengthen it. Because of this, newborns face an elevated risk during pandemics and flu season. To make matters worse, the coronavirus is still evolving and there are currently no readily available vaccines against it for newborns.
Whether or not parents allow you to visit with their newborns may come down to personal preference and their doctors’ recommendations. How they allow you to visit may also depend on these factors, so it’s important to establish and respect the boundaries that parents set from the start. In addition to this, keep in mind the following tips.
Wear a Mask
Even if the parents do not wear masks or do not believe in wearing masks, consider doing so. Your decision to mask up could help protect not just the baby but other people who visit the home. One of the most important reasons to wear a mask is that you may carry the virus and not know it. A recent study estimates thatone in five people infected with the coronavirus does not have symptoms. Some studies put the estimateeven higher at 40%.
Despite continued resistance, the CDC stands firm in its recommendation that masks help slow the spread of infection. It recommends that everyone over two years old wear a mask, with few exceptions. The CDC also reports that multi-layer masks block roughly80% of particles and can even filter out 50% to 70% of fine virus particles. People who wear N95 masks have even more protection at 95% of fine particles. However, be mindful of one-way valves that do not filter exhaled air.
It has always been a recommendation to wash your hands before touching a baby, especially newborns, but this is especially important during a pandemic. Unfortunately, most people do not wash their hands often enough or do not wash their hands properly. The CDC sharesthe following guidance on proper handwashing.
Wet the Hands: Use warm or cold running water to get your hands wet. Then, apply soap.
Lather Up: Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the applied soap. Ensure you reach not just your palms, but between your fingers, under your nails and the back of your hands.
Scrub: It takes 20 seconds for soap to effectively kill the coronavirus and other harmful organisms, so keep scrubbing. Ask your virtual assistant to set a timer or sing the Happy Birthday song twice.
Rinse: When rinsing, use clean, running water.
Dry: Use a clean towel or paper towel to dry your hands. You may also air dry them.
Use Hand Sanitizer
If you do not have access to facilities to wash your hands when you arrive, hand sanitizer can help. You may believe that since you washed your hands before leaving home you don’t need to use sanitizer upon arrival. Unless you sanitized your vehicle, keys, wallet and phone, you may still come in contact with the virus.
Note that not all hand sanitizers are created equal. When choosing a product, keep these CDC recommendations in mind:
The ingredients should include 60% alcohol or higher
Ingredients to look out for include isopropanol, ethanol, 2-propanol or ethyl alcohol
The label’s guidelines should always be followed
Note that there are several hand sanitizer products either underinvestigation or banned by the FDA. These products contain a form of alcohol that, while effective against the coronavirus, can also cause irreparable damage.
Ideally, you should have no physical contact with the baby. This may not be a good time for hugging or kissing a newborn, which already posed health risks, even before the pandemic. Masks do not negate the need for six feet of distance between people. Neither does washing hands or using sanitizer. When people cough or sneeze, it can cause the virus to travel further than usual. Maintaining distance reduces the likelihood of someone else inhaling infected droplets.
Sharing closed spaces with other people increases the risk of becoming infected or infecting others. Consider asking the parents to have a small, outdoor gathering. The virus can still spread outdoors, especially when people gather in close quarters, but it is less likely to do so. If the weather is not hospitable, this can present some challenges.
In Ohio, one couple allowed visitors to meet the babythrough the window. The new parents made the decision with their family after hospitals restricted visitor access. Since then, many other parents have been compelled to do the same. Some have created more elaborate setups at home.
Make It Virtual
The best way to maintain physical distance is to simply not visit the newborn in person. People are having birthday parties, weddings and business conferences online. Your first introduction to the baby can follow the same trend. If the parents do not at first feel excited about this approach, consider offering to plan it on their behalf.
If you become responsible for planning the virtual party, determine how many other people will attend. This will determine what platform you use. You may also need to find out what devices the parents have, what existing apps they use and what kind of software they may feel willing to download.
These are some popular apps that allow video calling:
The Bottom Line
When visiting with others, wearing masks and social distancing are dependent on personal choices. Make the decision backed by scientific organizations and strong community values. However, it’s also important to choose a mask that fits snugly, filters out small particles and still allows you to breathe freely. To find masks that check all three of these boxes,visit our online store.