Is it safe to travel with kids this holiday season? While the choice is yours to make as a parent, I try to break down the answer in this article.
I sit here writing this as millions of parents across the country weigh the decision to travel this holiday season. For many families, the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is a deal-breaker. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that, even if you do not feel ill, “[y]ou and your travel companions (including children) may spread COVID-19 to other people including your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus. People, however, are still asking the question, is it safe to travel with kids?
Before you decide, answer these critical questions.
Where Are You Going?
Your destination is the first factor to consider when you are not sure whether to travel with the kids this year.
Are cases rising where you are planning to travel? If you are worried about your child getting the virus, perhaps because they are in a risk category, you need to understand the importance of the infection rate in the area of your destination.
Some areas of the country are also more likely to comply with social distancing and mask recommendations for gatherings, so be aware that even if you want to follow the guidelines set by those in the medical community, others may not.
Consider, as well, that we are entering the cold months for much of the country. When it’s cold outside, gatherings are more likely to be held indoors, which raises the risk of infection.
Where Do You Live?
Alternatively, you also need to consider where you are coming from if you want to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Traveling from a place with a high infection rate to somewhere with few cases can change things for whole communities.
Some studies have suggested that children may be more likely to spread the virus—while the science is still out on this one, you might want to consider staying home with the kids if there are going to be any family members who might be vulnerable to infection.
How Are You Planning to Travel?
Is it safe to travel with kids during the holidays? The mode of travel you choose definitely affects the answer to this question.
Driving is by far the safest way to travel long distances if you want to avoid the virus. Airlines are doing their best to make flying as low-risk as possible, but taking a flight across the country is far from risk-free.
Time, space, people, place—these are four factors that epidemiologists have identified that can give you an idea about how risky an activity is for transmission of the virus. In short, you want to spend the least amount of time possible with the most space between people and the fewest people in the largest place. An airplane does not meet this description.
Is It Safe to Travel with Kids at All?
Ultimately, it is your decision whether to travel with the kids this holiday season. There are ways to do it safely, but in the end, the only way to keep your risk near zero is to stay home.
Do you have any questions about your child’s health this holiday season? Get in touch with me today to schedule an appointment.