Coronavirus Information Center Connecticut Children’s is proud to be your family’s trusted pediatric expert during the coronavirus pandemic, and every day. Here’s the information you need to navigate COVID-19, including support for the new challenges you may be facing as a parent. Upcoming Appointment Information Many surgeries, procedures and in-person appointments are now available: Call your child’s specialty clinic to schedule. As you resume this important face-to-face care, you can count on us to keep your child safe and sound every step of the way. Learn about our enhanced safety program, Safe and Sound. Visitor Restrictions Visitor restrictions are an important way for us to prevent the spread of illness, and keep our patients and communities safe from coronavirus. Learn about our current visitor restrictions >> Video Visits Connecticut Children’s offers Video Visits across more than 30 specialties, helping to protect our team members and patient families by limiting the spread of COVID-19. If you have an existing appointment you would like to convert to a Video Visit, or would like to make a new Video Visit appointment, please contact your specialty office. Learn more about Video Visits >> Get Answers to All of Your Coronavirus Questions We know that parents and families may have many questions regarding the coronavirus. To ensure there is a trusted one-stop resource, we have launched the Connecticut Children’s Pediatric COVID-19 Hotline. COVID-19 Hotline: 833.226.2362 Resources for Families Is It Safe to Send Your Child Back to School During COVID-19? Advice From Connecticut Children’s Physician-in-ChiefRight now, we know there’s one question at the top of many parents’ minds: Is it safe to send my child back to school this fall? Physician-in-Chief Juan Salazar, MD, MPH, responds. Learn More A Checklist to Help Parents Decide: Send Kids Back to School or Keep Them Home During COVID-19?When it comes to sending your child back to school or keeping them home this fall, the question comes down to your family’s individual risks when it comes to COVID-19, benefits and comfort levels. Physician-in-Chief Juan Salazar, MD, MPH, helps you think it through. Learn More Back to School Training: 8 Things to Practice With Your Kids Now for COVID-19 Classroom SafetyIf you’re considering sending your child back to the classroom this fall, safety is probably on your mind. Schools will be taking lots of precautions to keep kids safe from coronavirus. You can too – starting right now. Learn More How to Help Kids Adjust to Masks Before School Starts: 16 Activities to Practice Mask-WearingWith schools scheduled to reopen in fall, and masks part of the new normal, it’s time to make sure your child is comfortable wearing theirs. So we’ve put together 16 activities to sneak mask practice into summer fun. Learn More Mask Up! Tips to Make Kids More Comfortable With Masks, Broken Down by AgeEven if your child knows they’re supposed to wear a mask out in public, it can take some practice – and positive reinforcement – to get them in the habit. Child Life specialist Kathryn Robbins, MS, CCLS, provides some tips for parents. Choose what will work best for your child based on their age, developmental level and other factors. Learn More 7 Ways to Introduce Your Child to Wearing a MaskIt can be a challenge getting some kids to wear a mask for any amount of time, and an especially tough adjustment for kids with sensory or developmental needs. Child Life specialist, Kathryn Robbins, MS, CCLS, provides some strategies for care givers. Learn More Is It Safe to Send Your Child Back to Day Care During COVID-19?As childcare centers reopen in Connecticut, parents have a lot of questions about safety. Pediatrician Patricia Garcia, MD, MPH, who directs Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes program, helps provide answers. Learn More Teen Depression and Anxiety: What Parents Should Look for, Ask and DoAs we’ve weathered the ups and downs of the pandemic, some parents and pediatric experts have noticed an increase in teen anxiety and depression. If you’re wondering how you’ll know when your teen needs extra help – whether it’s from a counselor or physician, or just more support at home – read on. Learn More Don’t Delay Your Child’s Vaccines – They’re More Important Than EverThroughout the coronavirus pandemic, Connecticut Children’s and its partner pediatric practices have worked around the clock to provide a safe environment for patient care – including making sure that kids are getting the vaccines they need. Catherine Wiley, MD, division head of Primary Care at Connecticut Children’s, shares an important reminder to parents. Learn more Safe and Sound: Esmae’s StoryConnecticut Children’s enhanced safety program, Safe and Sound, makes sure children like Esmae get the care they need, and parents like Jasmyn and Tony get peace of mind that their child is safe and sound every step of the way. Read Esmae’s Story A Mysterious Inflammatory Illness in Kids May Be Linked to COVID-19: Our Physician-in-Chief Shares What We KnowSo far throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, children and adolescents have mostly experienced mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. In contrast to adults, very few children have required hospitalization. But in recent days, health systems in New York, Boston and the U.K. have reported a rare and potentially serious inflammatory illness in kids that may be linked to coronavirus. There is no name yet for this mysterious illness, and doctors are working to learn more. Physician-in-Chief Juan C. Salazar, MD, MPH, shares what we know so far. Frequently Asked Questions about CoronavirusPhysician-in-Chief and infections disease expert, Juan C. Salazar, MD, MPH answers common questions our patients, families and communities are asking. Learn more Preparing Your Child for a Drive-Through COVID-19 TestIf your child has a surgery or procedure scheduled, we want to make sure they’re as healthy as possible – and keep everyone safe from coronavirus exposure. So as one of Connecticut Children’s Safe and Sound enhanced safety precautions, we now require a COVID-19 test (with a negative result) within five days before your child’s surgery or procedure. We’ll schedule this for you at our drive-through testing site. You may want to prepare your child ahead of time. To help, Child Life specialist Kelly Foy gives advice. Learn more From Our Family to Yours: Pediatric Psychologists Share Favorite Ways to CopeIn honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Connecticut Children’s pediatric psychologists join the blog with top coping tips for these uncertain times – straight from their families to yours. Learn more Autism and Anxiety in Quarantine: How to Support Children, Teens and Young Adults on the SpectrumThe uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic is hard for everyone. Core routines have been disrupted, household stress may be at a high, and information seems to change overnight. For individuals on the autism spectrum – who usually do best with predictable routines and concrete information – this time may be especially stressful. Pediatric psychologist Amy Signore, PhD, MPH, provideswith strategies to help kids, teens and young adults with autism manage anxiety. Learn more Meal Planning Made Easy: Advice From a Pediatric DietitianA lot has changed about everyday life since the coronavirus pandemic began, including how we get our groceries. Some simple meal planning can help you stretch the items you already have in your kitchen, and keep your family healthy too. (And during stressful times, it’s more important than ever to practice healthy habits.) Haley Duscha, a pediatric dietitian in the Division of Obesity & Weight Management, gives advice. Learn more The Path to Adulthood: Lauryn’s StoryWhen your child is 16 years old, their path to adulthood is just starting to come into focus. They’re defining important goals, and figuring out how to take care of themselves. Whether or not they like to admit it, they need support on this path – and their parents could often use some guidance of their own. This is especially true for parents whose teen is on the autism spectrum. Individuals with autism often face additional challenges picking a career, forming relationships and living independently. A developmental pediatrician can help families navigate this path. So when the coronavirus pandemic started to disrupt life as we know it right around the time Lauryn and her parents were supposed to meet with Lauryn’s developmental pediatrician, Robert D. Keder, MD, everyone wanted a safe way to keep the appointment. Thanks to Connecticut Children’s Video Visits, they got it. Learn more 7 Yoga Videos to Help Children Relax, Focus and Move Through StressYoga is a favorite way for children and adults of all ages to get exercise, practice mindfulness and cope with stress. During challenging times like the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a great habit to start – or continue. Want a pediatric expert as your guide? Our specialists in the Division of Pain Medicine have created a series of yoga videos especially for kids. View our favorite videos here. Child Refusing to Do School Work? Stop Those Distance Learning Struggles!What was once an exciting new adventure for students just a couple of months ago is now a dreaded daily chore for many: distance learning. You may be following all of our tips to keep your child engaged in remote learning (including creating their ideal home office) – and your child might still be avoiding, resisting or flat-out refusing to do schoolwork. How can you turn this struggle into success? Ann Koenig, education specialist at Connecticut Children’s, gives advice. Learn more Visitor RestrictionsThese restrictions are an important way for us to prevent the spread of illness. Learn about our current visitor restrictions. Should My Child Wear a Face Mask?If your child is under the age of 2, they do not need to wear a mask. Instead carry them in a car seat with a breathable cover, or push them in their stroller with the cover on. If your child is over the age of 2 they can wear a cloth face mask as long as they are able to remove the mask if they have trouble breathing. View Infographic When Your Child Is Anxious, Try a Coping Toolbox! Here’s How to Make OneBy now, you may have read our advice for helping your child manage stress. Some of those strategies take time and practice. Others, like creating a coping toolbox, can be accomplished in an afternoon – and count as a fun activity during school closures too. Coping toolboxes use all five senses to reduce anxiety and boost positive emotions. They’re great for all ages (including parents). Here’s how to make one. 14 Ways to Celebrate Your Child’s Graduation During COVID-19Whether your child is a high school senior or moving on from preschool or kindergarten, graduation is a major milestone. But with schools in Connecticut closed for the rest of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the big day will now likely be celebrated at home. Here are some fun and unique ways to celebrate the graduate. What to Do (and Not Do) When Your Toddler Has a TantrumWe all know that tantrums are normal behavior for toddlers, but that doesn’t change how upsetting they may feel for everyone in the household. And with everyone’s emotional reserves running a little low during COVID-19, you want to have strategies ready to keep your cool – and, of course, calm your child. For help with toddler tantrums, Laura Caneira, APRN, and Rebecca Moles, MD, give advice. The Ultimate List of COVID-19 Resources for Families: Mental Health, Special Needs, Distance Learning and MoreAs your family adjusts to the new demands and challenges of life in the coronavirus pandemic, we want to make sure you can turn to reliable resources. To help, Connecticut Children’s Division of Pediatric Psychology has put together this comprehensive list for parents and caregivers. View the list here. 8 Tips to Get Kids Involved in the Kitchen – Plus 3 Healthy Recipes to Start!Cooking together is a great way to get your child interested in healthy eating, and teach them important skills. Where to start? Haley Duscha, a pediatric dietitian in the Division of Obesity & Weight Management, gives advice. S Is for Safety: Small Steps to Keep Kids SecureChildren of all ages can stumble upon hidden hazards around the house – ingestion of household cleaning products, falls from windows and much more. So with children and teens spending far more time at home these days due to COVID-19 and social distancing, parents should be on the lookout for preventable injury. Kevin Borrup, DrPH, JD, MPA, interim director of Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center, provides simple steps you can take to keep your child safe. Resilience Is Family: 40 Ideas for New Family TraditionsRoutines and stability help kids get through stressful times. But life is unpredictable – especially in a pandemic. How can parents give kids the stability they need to be resilient? Developmental pediatrician, Robert D. Keder, MD, helps give advice on how to give your child stability and fun through family traditions. 16 Creative Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy During Social DistancingAs the days and weeks now turn into more than a month of social distancing, you may be running out of ideas to keep your children busy during the long days at home. You are not alone. But don’t worry! We have plenty of out-of-the-box suggestions you might want to try to put excitement back into their routine. Check these out. 18 Tips to Help Children With Special Needs Thrive While Learning at HomeEducating children at home is a challenge for most parents. It can be even more overwhelming for parents of children with special needs, who are navigating distance learning without the supports their child typically receives in a school setting. Jennifer Twachtman-Bassett, a speech and language pathologist and autism specialist, and Robert D. Keder, MD, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, answer common questions from parents of children with special needs – from how to structure your child’s learning to how to talk about coronavirus. Resilience Is Mindfulness: 12 Calming Exercises for KidsJust like adults, it’s easy for kids to get lost in troubling thoughts, and overwhelmed by the physical sensations that accompany stress. But kids can learn to calm themselves by focusing on what’s happening right now in their body, breath and surroundings – aka, mindfulness. Mindfulness helps focus and soothe a worried mind, and makes it easier for kids to control how they react to stress long-term. It’s an important key to resilience. Pediatric integrative medicine specialist Ana Maria Verissimo, MD, MA, shares mindfulness and relaxation exercises for kids. Advice for Athletes in COVID-19: Use This Time to Build Strength, Skill and Mental ToughnessIn times of crisis, the world has often turned to sports for comfort and camaraderie. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, sports have been severely restricted for the greater good of public safety, and everyone from coaches to fans are feeling the effects. Millions of young athletes have lost not only their opportunities to compete, but their everyday connections with teammates. Connecticut Children’s clinical director of Elite Sports Medicine, David Wang, MD, MS, shares advice for athletes in the era of COVID-19. Resilience Is Independence: Kids Who Think “I Can Do This” Turn Challenges Into GrowthWhen children trust in their ability to master new skills and do things for themselves, it’s easier for them to weather the ups and downs of life – including the current pandemic. Dana Brunell Eisenberg, MA, MSN, a nurse practitioner in Connecticut Children’s Division of Developmental Pediatrics (and an expert in “scaffolding learning”), explains this key to resilience. Managing Family Stress During COVID-19During this time of coronavirus, the “new normal” for many families includes a heightened level of stress – from fears of illness to financial challenges to new childcare and distance learning demands. Sound familiar? For help managing stress – your child’s, and your own – Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center experts provide some advice. Is Your Child Online? Follow 6 Steps for Social Media SafetyWith schools closed and social distancing measures in place, children are turning to social media to stay connected with friends – through messaging and video chats, sharing photos and videos, and playing video games. For many, this is happening at a younger age than their parents originally planned. That can be okay, since it’s important for children of all ages to maintain social connections, especially in times of crisis. But if you’re a parent, you should follow some basic steps to keep your child safe online. Kevin Borrup, DrPH, JD, MPA, associate director of Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center, provides some helpful advice. Creating Your Child’s Ideal “Home Office” for Distance LearningAs students tackle distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic, they may find it hard to feel as though they’re in school when in fact they’re “working from home.” One way parents can help? Create a dedicated office space for your child in which they will love to learn. Ann Koenig, education specialist at Connecticut Children’s, provides step-by-step advice. Resilience Is Strength: Kids Can Bounce Back From Anything With the Right SupportWe hear it all the time: Kids are resilient. But what does that mean, and why does it matter so much right now? Developmental pediatrician Robert D. Keder, MD, helps to explain. Resilience Is Self-Care: Kids Can Learn How to Manage StressEven when they’re sad, stressed or frustrated, kids can learn to trust that they’ll eventually feel better, and how to take care of themselves until they do. Pediatric psychologists Kelly Maynes, PsyD, and Lauren K. Ayr-Volta, PhD, explain this key to resilience. Resilience Is Connection: Strong Relationships Create Strong KidsResearch consistently shows that even in stressful times, the kids who do well are the ones who have strong, stable, supportive adult relationships. This means that everyone from grandparents to coaches have an important role to play in your child’s resilience. How can you keep these supportive relationships strong during social distancing? Developmental pediatrician Robert D. Keder, MD, gives advice. 5 Ways to Keep Your Child Engaged in At-Home LearningIf you feel like you just became your child’s substitute teacher and camp counselor all at once, you’re not alone. With kids around Connecticut staying home due to COVID-19 school closures, it’s up to parents and other caregivers to keep children engaged, excited and learning new things. Ann Koenig, an education specialist at Connecticut Children’s, provides 5 tips to help keep kids engaged. 6 Strategies for Parents to Keep Calm and Carry On During COVID-19Connecticut Children’s pediatrician Rebecca Moles, MD, offers strategies to help parents while children are home from school. Read her simple strategies to help parents. How to Maintain Structure During School ClosuresKids of all ages (and adults too) perform best with structure: When they know what to expect, they can adjust better and more successfully moderate their mood and behavior. Read our expert tips to help create a successful home environment during school closures. Answering Your Child’s Coronavirus QuestionsWhat do you say when your child comes to you with coronavirus questions? Advice from our expert on how to respond. 8 Tips for Talking to Kids About CoronavirusHow do you approach the conversation about coronavirus with young children? Advice from our experts on how to handle this conversation. What Parents Should Know About CoronavirusWith coronavirus on everyone’s minds, we know parents are looking for advice to keep kids healthy. Read advice from our experts. Leaving Your Child Home Alone? Here’s How to Keep Them SafeSchools across the state of Connecticut are closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and many parents have no choice but to return to work. If you’re one of them, how can you decide if your child is ready to be left home alone – and how will you make sure they’re safe? Get expert advice from Kevin Borrup, DrPH, JD, MPA, associate director of Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center. Self-Quarantining and Your Family: A Pediatrician Answers Your QuestionsAs communities work to stop the spread of coronavirus, many parents may hear instructions from their physician to self-quarantine themselves, their child or their whole family for 14 days. That may sound daunting. However, there are steps you can take to make the process more manageable and less stressful. Nancy Trout, MD, a primary care pediatrician and co-director of Kohl’s Start Childhood Off Right program, provides helpful information. How Is Your Child Coping With COVID-19? Here’s What to Look ForBy now, it’s probably sinking in for your child – and you – that coronavirus school closures and social distancing aren’t simply an extended vacation. As we all deal with changes to daily life, it’s important to take stock of what your child actually understands about COVID-19 and recent developments, and how they’re feeling about it. Pediatric psychologist Bradley S. Jerson, PhD, has advice. Are You Disinfecting Your Baby’s Gear Correctly?With COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, we’re all trying to do a better job disinfecting items and surfaces that get a lot of contact. That goes for baby gear, too. Of course, cleaning baby gear is important all the time to remove germs, dirt and other soiled materials. But there are so many different kinds of gear, and so many different approaches, how do you know if you’re doing it right? Pediatrician Patricia Garcia, MD, MPH, who directs Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes program, answers your questions. Babies and CoronavirusConnecticut Children’s Specialists contributed to these three great stories from What To Expect and the Bump What To Expect – How Are Babies Affected by the Coronavirus? Everything We Know Right Now What To Expect – Caring for Your Baby During the Coronavirus Outbreak The Bump – What Every Parent Needs to Know About COVID-19 14 Ways to Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday During COVID-19On April 2, Connecticut Children’s celebrated its 24th birthday – and we’re thinking of all the kids out there who have birthdays around this time too. From school to sports to shopping, some of your child’s favorite activities may have already been sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing efforts. Unfortunately, a traditional birthday party is also off-limits. But this is no time for the birthday blues. You can still put a new spin on the day to make it super special. 5 Ways to Send Love to Friends and Family in the Hospital Amid COVID-19 Visitor RestrictionsAt Connecticut Children’s, we love making kids feel special, comfortable and cared for, whether it’s for a quick recovery or an extended inpatient stay. But every child, at every age, gets a boost from the support of family and friends too. During coronavirus visitor restrictions, that can be a little harder than usual. For the safety of our patients and communities, Connecticut Children’s currently only allows parents and guardians to visit. That means kids who are in the hospital may be missing other important people in their life, like siblings and grandparents. Until it’s safe for you to visit in person, here are suggestions for sending love and support. Video Visits Are Here! 5 Reasons to Schedule TodayThese days, your family is already staying home as much as possible to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Now you can get pediatric care from home, too. Connecticut Children’s is excited to announce Video Visits for most specialties, including primary care, for both new and existing patients. Nancy Trout, MD, a primary care pediatrician and co-director of the Kohl’s Start Childhood Off Right program, shares five reasons you’ll love this new way to connect with our pediatric experts. Staying Home for a Cause: Social Distancing FAQsSchools are closed, restaurants are empty and leaders are telling everyone in Connecticut and other parts of the country to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic. This can be really hard for all of us, including kids. It helps to understand the reasoning behind it, and to know if you’re doing it right. Here, our pediatric experts break down the what, why and how of social distancing. 3 Bedtime Challenges Your Kids Might Be Having Now – and How to Solve ThemThere are lots of reasons why sleep may be more difficult for your child during the coronavirus pandemic. These reasons might include schedule changes, lack of physical activity and higher levels of anxiety. To help keep your children’s sleep on track, check out advice from behavioral sleep psychologist Lynelle Schneeberg, PsyD. How to Calm a Crying Infant (and Yourself)Parenting is stressful. That’s especially true during COVID-19. Families are dealing with changing work schedules, financial uncertainty and lack of basic household needs just as schools, daycares and out-of-home activities are closed. With all this pressure, parents may feel more frustrated than usual with children of all ages. A crying infant can be particularly distressing. Find out how to safely cope with a crying baby. Pediatrician Rebecca Moles, MD, provides advice. Recommended External Resources World Health Organization (WHO) Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation Dashboard Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Connecticut’s Official State Website What are the symptoms of coronavirus? Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In milder cases, it can present like a common cold. Unless your family has recently traveled to a high-risk area of the world (see cdc.gov for a current list) or has been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of coronavirus, these symptoms are most likely the result of a common cold or flu. Guidance From Our Experts Don't Freak Out - Pediatric Experts Discuss Impact To Children Courtney Rowe, MD, a pediatric urologist, and Grace Hong, APRN, a nurse practitioner in Infectious Disease at Connecticut Children’s, talk about the coronavirus, specifically how the disease doesn’t seem to be impacting kids in the same serious ways as adults. “That doesn’t mean that if you’re young or if you have young kids, that you can ignore this virus,” says Dr. Rowe. – watch video Fox61 Coverage of Connecticut Children's COVID-19 HotlineFox61 shares Connecticut Children’s press conference regarding coronavirus and the hotline for the community to call with their coronavirus questions. – watch video Fox61 Coverage - How Parents and Teachers Should Talk to Kids About CoronavirusRobert Keder, MD, a developmental pediatrician at Connecticut Children’s, offers advice on how parents and teachers can talk with kids about coronavirus. – watch video Connecticut Children's Providers Discuss CoronavirusRobert Keder, MD, a developmental pediatrician, and Anand Sekaran, MD, division head of hospital medicine, speak with various media outlets about coronavirus. – watch video Star 99.9 Connecticut Children’s Medical Minute Connecticut Children’s and Star 99.9 have partnered to bring you the Connecticut Children’s Medical Minute, so you can learn helpful tips and info on your children’s health and well being. Be sure to listen to Star 99.9 each Monday at 5:20pm to hear this week’s Star 99.9 Connecticut Children’s Medical Minute. Click here to listen to past interviews for helpful advice from our pediatric experts. Expert: Coronavirus confinement causing ‘toxic stress’ for CT children, parentsThe Greater New Milford Spectrum article feathers Robert D. Keder, MD, as they discuss the stress children feel during social distancing. Read the article here.