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Keeping children safe

Advice for children and parents on COVID-19 prevention and safety.

Last updated: December 14, 2021

Getting your child vaccinated, when available, is the best way to prevent COVID-19. Getting vaccinated yourself also protects younger unvaccinated children. 
Learn about children and COVID-19 vaccination

Follow COVID-19 prevention measures and actions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for everyone. Visit the Prevention & Risks page for detailed information. 

Cold and flu season safety

  1. Keep all vaccinations up-to-date for your child, including flu vaccines. You don’t have to delay flu vaccines if your child is getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Visit ImmunizeBC for more information
  2. Continue to wash hands regularly and cough and sneeze into the bend of arm or a tissue
  3. Stay home when you or your child is sick


One of the best ways to prevent infection is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. Keep a routine for hand washing including role modelling proper and regular handwashing. 

Liquid or foam soap is preferred. Any temperature of water can be used to wash hands. Cold water and warm water are both effective at cleaning hands as long as soap is used.

Use hand lotion if hands get dry or chapped because of extra handwashing.

This video shows your child how wash their hands:

Learn more about hand washing.


Masks are one of many layers of protection we use to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Visit the BCCDC masks page for information on when and how to wear a mask.

Children who wear a mask still need to: 
  • avoid touching their face
  • wash their hands often
  • stay home when sick to limit physical contact with other children or adults
Do not put a face mask or any covering including visors and eye protection on infants under two years of age. A face mask or covering will make it difficult for a baby to breathe because their airways are still small. There is also a risk that parts of the face mask, visor or eye protection can come off and become a choking or strangulation hazard.

Hand sanitizer safety

If your child can’t wash their hands, use Health Canada approved alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Read labels carefully. Some products are for adult use only. Some should not be used by children, pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Hand sanitizer is not recommended for infants under two years of age. Their skin is still developing and changing.

Encourage your child to use hand sanitizer safely:
  1. Supervise children under the age of six when using hand sanitizer. 
  2. If their hands are visibly dirty, clean first before using a hand sanitizer.  
  3. Use enough product to cover the front and back of your child’s hands and between fingers. 
  4. Make sure the hand sanitizer has dried completely before your child returns to activities.
  5. Prevent your child from putting wet hands in their eyes or mouth.
  6. Never apply hand sanitizer over broken skin or on scrapes or rashes.
How to keep hand sanitizer safe around children:
  1. Take care when storing hand sanitizer. Keep products safely away from children. 
  2. Consider buying plain versions, without attractive colours, scents or glitter. 
  3. Purchase hand sanitizer with spray nozzles or pumps to reduce the risk of accidental consumption. 
If your child accidentally consumes any amount of hand sanitizer, call the BC Poison Control Centre: 1-800-567-8911. Do not wait for symptoms of accidental poisoning to occur before calling. 

Visit the BCCDC hand washing  page for more information on hand sanitizers. 

Play dates, sleepovers and socializing

Social interactions and getting together with others are important to our children's well-being. There are steps you can take to make play dates and socializing safer:

  • Do not send your child to a sleepover or playdate if they or any of the other children are sick
  • Before and after play dates, have all children clean their hands properly. 
  • Remind your child to cough and sneeze into the bend of their arm or a tissue.
  • Remind your child to keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Remind children about respecting others’ personal space.

Use layers of COVID-19 protection when spending time with unvaccinated friends and family:

  • Get vaccinated when eligible to do so
  • Visit outdoors or in smaller groups
  • If visiting indoors, keep windows and doors open to let fresh air in
  • Wear masks inside with others and maintain personal space
  • Clean hands often
  • Stay home if you are feeling unwell

SOURCE: Keeping children safe ( )
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