Worried about keeping your kids safe now that they've returned to school? Dr Ranj is here to help! This Morning's resident doctor shared his expert advice with HELLO! for making sure your children stay safe in a COVID-19 world.
A whopping 47 per cent of UK parents worry their kids will bring germs into the house, and half of us still have to remind children to wash their hands before touching or eating food, according to a new study by Lifebuoy. Throw returning to school into the mix, and it can feel like a total nightmare!
There are a few simple steps that can help. Former Strictly Come Dancing star Dr Ranj insists good hand hygiene is one of the most important things parents can do to banish coronavirus from their homes. Instilling a routine early on is key – but don't forget to make it fun for your little ones!
Read on to discover Dr Ranj's helpful advice for all parents…
This Morning's resident doctor Dr Ranj has some great guidelines for parents
Dr Ranj on the importance of handwashing
"Kids are starting to go back to school and we are going towards the winter months when infections become more commonplace, it is now more important than ever that we make hand hygiene a key part of our everyday routine. Especially those key moments throughout the day – when we come home, mealtimes, coughing or sneezing, using the toilet.
"With physical distancing in children it's always going to be tricky because children don’t behave like adults. So other factors like handwashing become more important. Going into winter there's a whole range of other bug surges (flu, vomiting bugs, chickenpox…) as kids go back to school anyway. It's important for general health all around."
Dr Ranj on getting children into a handwashing routine
"Making it part of your routine is probably the most powerful thing any family can do. Germs are much more likely to be transmitted via the skin rather than other surfaces.
"It's about that age-old wisdom coming back, asking, 'You've just come inside, have you washed your hands?' – and bringing that common sense into daily routines. You can be creative with it, too!
"Make it a habit. Stick a sticker on your front door to remind you to take your hand sanitiser or wash your hands when you get in."
Dr Ranj on how parents can make handwashing fun
"Kids will learn from your behaviour... so lead by example! Sing happy birthday twice, play your favourite songs, you could also wash a toy with little ones while washing your hands. It's a case of making it as fun as possible, and it will become an important part of life.
"Do some experiments at home – on YouTube there's a lot about how soap works. Get creative, make it fun, gamify it, build it into your daily routine!"
Dr Ranj on how parents can keep their kids safe at school
"Good practice starts at home, so parents need to be educating their children. They carry those habits with them. Children pick up things very quickly, they understand that if something is important!
"Remember, part of the condition of schools reopening was enhanced cleaning, enhanced hand washing and hygiene, all of that has been put into place, there's lots of guidance for schools in terms of keeping pupils and stuff safe. Parents play a part, but schools can take over."
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Dr Ranj on making play dates COVID 19-safe
"If you're bubbled up, it's OK in terms of physical distancing. If you haven't got easy access to soap and water, you need to have hand sanitiser which contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
"It's worthwhile speaking to the parents and carers of whoever you're having a playdate with and coming up with a strategy, rules to try and keep everyone safe. The risk is going to be low, but the worry is maybe still there and it's important to talk about it."
Dr Ranj says a handwashing routine is vital
Dr Ranj on not letting coronavirus fears take over
"We need to strike a balance between being cautious and careful. Children likely to pick up a whole host of other viruses rather than coronavirus – but sometimes the symptoms overlap. There will be some updated guidance coming up from healthcare professionals for parents coming very soon!
"Our ability to test for coronavirus quickly will also hopefully improve. Whilst it's important to be sensible and take precautions, it's important to remember that children still need an education, are still at the lowest risk of coronavirus and could potentially pick up a whole host of other viruses so it would be a shame to disrupt their lives."
Dr Ranj, medical expert and NHS Doctor has been working in partnership with hygiene soap brand Lifebuoy to create healthy handwashing habits and help people remember the key moments to wash their hands, to help stop the spread of germs and bacteria.
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