What you need to know before hugging your grandkids during coronavirus

A toddler who loves you doesn’t understand how to social distance. But you do.
(Murugiah For The Times)

We’re answering readers’ questions about life during the pandemic:

My 1-year-old granddaughter doesn’t understand social distancing. Is it safe to pick her up and play during our outdoor visits, if we wear masks and use hand sanitizer? It feels cruel and heartbreaking to ignore her.

Kids are hug magnets, which makes family visits so hard during the pandemic. Let’s start with the mask issue. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reminds us that children younger than 2 should not wear cloth face coverings. Also, children between 2 and 8 “should use them but only under adult supervision to ensure the child can breathe safely and avoid choking or suffocation,” according to the county’s policy. There are other health reasons why some kids should not wear masks.

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The harder question is whether to play with her. Of course, a toddler who loves you doesn’t understand how to social distance. But you do.

Wearing masks and using hand sanitizer are good practices. You also need to stay six feet away from people who aren’t in your immediate household, even if you are outside. (Many people confuse “immediate household” with “immediate family.” They are not the same.)

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“The less time that we spend within 6 feet of each other, and the fewer people we interact with, the more likely we are to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the public health agency’s policy says.

At a distance, maybe you can teach your granddaughter a silly dance or put on a puppet show while mom or dad hold her. That would keep your granddaughter — and you — safe.

We’re listening, L.A.: Tell us what you want to know about the most pressing questions you have at this time — how to find a job, the best ways to manage your finances, and whether it’s safe to send your kids back to school or off to college — and we’ll find the best experts to answer your questions.

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