quarantine child covid-19 exposure

How to Safely Quarantine Your Child Exposed to Covid-19

This summer, I spent many sleepless nights weighing the pros and cons of sending my child to in-person school versus remote learning. It was a gut-wrenching decision when we finally decided to send him to school in-person. After all, Covid-19 transmission rate was low in the New York suburbs when school started, so what are the chances of catching Covid-19 in school? My son will be fairly safe in his little pod of 12 students, right? We made it through weeks of in-person school without any Covid-19 exposure but with just one phone call from the school nurse informing me that my son’s homeroom teacher got Covid-19, my greatest fear came true. The nurse said we had to quarantine my son and as much as possible, we needed to eat separately and wear our masks when we were around one another to reduce Covid-19 exposure to other family members at home. Wait…What? Wear masks at home? Quarantine my 8 year old? That’s impossible! It feels impossible to quarantine from a child exposed to Covid-19 but trust me, it is doable. And just know you are not alone, I know many families in the New York suburbs whose children got exposed to Covid-19 and they had to quarantine as a result of their child’s Covid-19 exposure. Here are my tips on how to safely quarantine your child exposed to Covid-19.

8 Tips to Safely Quarantine your Child Exposed to Covid-19

Below you will find 8 tips on how to safely quarantine your child exposed to Covid-19.

Covid-19 Quarantine Tip 1: Assign a Quarantine Room(s) to Your Child

In order to safely quarantine your child exposed to Covid-19, you need to keep your child’s living and sleeping space separate from other family members. Depending on how old your child is, it is best if your child quarantines by sleeping in his own room and playing in a separate room or in a space away from the rest of the family. When we quarantined my son, he slept in his bedroom and spent the day in our upstairs playroom. The playroom had plenty of toys to entertain my son during his Covid-19 quarantine. We also set up a computer and brought multiple devices so he can be entertained in the upstairs playroom. In order to keep him upstairs, I arranged Facetime playdates for my son with other classmates so he does not feel isolated. It’s hard to keep a child safely quarantined so he does not expose everyone else in the family to Covid-19!

Covid-19 Quarantine Tip 2: Don’t Use the Same Bathroom

Safely quarantine your child from the rest of the family by making sure your child uses a separate bathroom so he/she does not expose the rest of the family to Covid-19. Keeping separate bathrooms is probably one of the most important aspects of quarantining at home. To safely quarantine from Covid-19, don’t share the same bathroom with your child. Assign your child a separate bathroom. As much as possible, have your child bathe himself and have him brush his own teeth. I know its hard or impossible for younger children. Fortunately, when my son was quarantining from being exposed to his teacher who had Covid-19, my was independent enough to bathe himself and to brush his own teeth so it minimized my exposure to my son. Although sometimes I still needed to go in the bathroom to help my son. When I do go in my son’s bathroom, I made sure to wear my mask and turned on the HEPA air purifier so there is better airflow in the bathroom.

Covid-19 Quarantine Tip 3: Wear Masks At Home

In order to safely quarantine your child at home, you need to make sure that everyone wears their mask whenever you or a family member comes close to your child. Mask wearing is essential to reduce Covid-19 exposure when you are quarantining from your child at home. It feels strange and very inconvenient to be wearing your mask at home but that is truly the only way you can protect each other from Covid-19 transmission. I wasn’t sure how my son would react when I told him he needed to wear his mask at home. I explained to him that mask wearing at home will feel the same as mask wearing at school. We will all wear our masks during quarantine when we are near each other. Surprisingly he understood and was okay with wearing his mask at home. He kept his mask off when he was alone in the upstairs playroom or alone in his bedroom and bathroom.

Covid-19 Quarantine Tip 4: Eat Separately

Another safety precaution to take during Covid-19 quarantine is to eat separately from your child. When the school nurse suggested that its best we don’t eat together with my son during quarantine, I thought it would be impossible. How could I have my 8 year old eat on his own? Eating separately from my son was probably the most difficult part of the entire Covid-19 quarantine experience. It breaks my heart to see a child eat his meals on alone. In order to keep my son entertained, I set up a little table in front of the TV in the playroom so he could watch TV while eating his meals alone. It makes me sad to see him eat alone but it is safest for everyone to reduce Covid-19 exposure.

Covid-19 Quarantine Tip 5: Maintain Social Distance At Home

Maintaining social distance with you child at home during Covid-19 quarantine is essential in reducing Covid-19 exposure. It is not easy to maintain social distance from a child during Covid-19 quarantine. It was so tempting to sneak in a hug or a snuggle with my 8 year old. It was also challenging to keep my son away from his siblings. They want to hang out and play with each other. I tried my best to keep my son away from his siblings during his Covid-19 quarantine. But they are so used to playing with each other that it is difficult to keep them apart during quarantine. When they are together in the same room, I reminded them to maintain social distance and to keep their masks on in order to reduce Covid-19 exposure during quarantine.

Covid-19 Quarantine Tip 6: Improve Indoor Air Ventilation at Home

In order to safely quarantine your child and reduce Covid-19 exposure, you need to improve indoor air ventilation at home. Improving air ventilation at home is key to reducing indoor Covid-19 airborne transmission. Three ways to improve indoor air ventilation at home is by 1.) Opening windows 2.) Upgrade your HVAC air filters to MERV 13 and 3.) Use HEPA air purifiers. Improving your home air ventilation can protect you and your family against Covid-19 airborne transmission. When my son was quarantined as a result of Covid-19 exposure, we increased indoor air ventilation by opening windows. Aside from opening windows to increase indoor air ventilation, I also ran HEPA air purifiers in my son’s bedroom, bathroom, playroom and hallway to increase overall airflow. I have several air purifier units that I use around the house to improve indoor air ventilation. You also should make sure you to upgrade your HVAC air filters to MERV 13 to reduce Covid-19 airborne transmission. And if you haven’t changed your HVAC air filters in a while, you really should be changing your air filters every 90 days.

Covid-19 Quarantine Tip 7: Check Temperature, Blood Oxygen Level and Covid-19 Symptoms Daily

During your child’s Covid-19 quarantine, you should monitor your child’s temperature, blood oxygen level and Covid-19 symptoms daily. When my son was quarantined, I took my son’s temperature everyday. It was so much easier to use a touchless thermometer scanner because it felt safer that the thermometer was contactless. I also used a pulse oximeter to monitor my son’s blood oxygen saturation level daily. It’s important to check for blood oxygen level because it is common for Covid-19 patients to feel and act normal even if they have dangerously low blood oxygen level.

covid-19 quarantine

Aside from daily temperature and blood oxygen checks during your child’s Covid-19 quarantine, be on the lookout for Covid-19 symptoms. According to the CDC, here are the Covid-19 symptoms to watch out for in children:

  • Fever or chills.
  • Cough.
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Sore throat.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomachache
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Poor appetite

Covid-19 Quarantine Tip 8: Get Your Child Tested for Covid-19

If you want peace of mind during your child’s Covid-19 quarantine, then you should get your child tested for Covid-19. It was very stressful for me, when my son was quarantined for Covid-19. I spent many sleepless nights running through possible ways my child could have been exposed to Covid-19 by his teacher. Does he sit in the front row near his teacher? What if he got exposed to Covid-19 during mask breaks? What if he got exposed to Covid-19 during lunch or snack? Not knowing whether or not my child has Covid-19 was torture! If you are stressing and freaking out, for peace of mind, I suggest bringing your child in to get tested for Covid-19. However, know that a negative Covid-19 test result does not mean your child can get out of Covid-19 quarantine. You still have to complete the entire Covid-19 quarantine period because there is still a chance that your child will develop Covid-19 afterwards. If you are bringing your child in for Covid-19 testing, I suggest going to a drive thru testing site instead of a walk-in test site. It’s safest to go to a drive thru Covid-19 testing site because you are waiting in your car and you don’t have to unnecessarily expose your child and yourself to other potential Covid-19 patients.

PS: If you are looking for a list of Covid-19 drive thru testing sites that tests children in Fairfield County and Westchester County, check out our article on Covid-19 Drive Thru testing sites that tests children in Fairfield County and Westchester County.

Final Thoughts on Safely Quarantining Your Child Exposed to Covid-19

Good luck with your child’s Covid-19 quarantine. Remember, you can safely quarantine your child exposed to Covid-19- you just need to maintain social distance, wear mask at home, eat separately from your child and keep your child away from everyone else at home.

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