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Parents seek guidance on safe play this summer, here's what doctors recommend

With kids home for the summer many parents are wondering are play dates okay? How about sleep overs? The swimming pool? How about youth sports?

MINNESOTA, USA — With nice weather, no one wants to keep their kids stuck inside.

But with the virus, parents are wondering what sorts of activities are safe for kids this summer.


Play dates?

Hennepin Healthcare Pediatrician Dr. Krishnan Subrahmanian deals with concerned parents every day and has heard nearly every question you can think of.

"To go back to daycare or not? To go to this event or not? To go to a wedding or not?" Dr. Subrahmanian says.

And sorry to say there aren't any easy answers, only this important truth, that everything you do this summer with your kids comes with a risk.

Subrahmanian says all parents can do is look at every situation, weigh the risks, and make the best choice you can with the information you have.

"What precautions is that business, is that recreation place, is that family taking, and am I comfortable with that level of risk? You know your family best and you know the risk you’re willing to accept with each activity and each situation you walk into,” Dr. Subrahmanian says.

So, for example, for play dates, Subrahmanian says make sure you know what precautions the other family is taking before you get together.

It’s also a good idea to stay outside and to keep the kids six feet apart if you can.

Sleep overs may not be the best idea right now he says, unless the kids are maybe camping outside.

Swimming pools are okay though, because the virus really doesn't travel through water, but again you just need to keep your distance.

And lastly, when it comes to youth sports, it all depends on the sport, how close the kids get to each other and what precautions the coaches and leagues are taking.

"You need to ask what they’re doing to ensure that kids and adults are going to stay safe," Dr. Subrahmanian says.

Obviously, the safest thing would be to keep kids locked inside their rooms all summer, but Dr. Subrahmanian says that’s probably not the best thing for a child’s mental well-being, or their mental development.

It's all about finding a balance and letting kids be kids.

"It's tough decisions for a lot of families and I think as long as you're asking really good questions about how to keep things as safe as possible you're doing a great thing for your children."

The CDC also put out a list of recommendations on how to keep kids safe this summer.

Click here to read the full list of recommendations.

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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There is also a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.

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