With coronavirus cases still rising and many parents still working, people are asking if they should still send their kids to daycare.
With coronavirus cases still rising and many parents still working, people are asking if they should still send their kids to daycare.

Are childcare centres still safe?

Many parents are still asking whether it's safe to send your children to daycare as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the country.

The Australian Academy of Science has addressed that issue, again reiterating it's fine for kids to keep going to childcare, as the government has stressed.

"From what we know of childhood to childhood transmission of COVID-19, there are not many cases reported where children are infecting other children," Dr Asha Bowen from the Telethon Kids Institute said.

"We know every season that we blame the children for the colds that come out of daycare and out of school settings, and even influenza.

"And we know that that actually is transmitted heavily by school-aged children and from daycare centres."

Ava Yardy and Billie Walmsley of C&K Amberley Community Childcare Centre. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Ava Yardy and Billie Walmsley of C&K Amberley Community Childcare Centre. Picture: Cordell Richardson

But Dr Bowen said coronavirus appeared to be different from those infections.

"In fact, COVID-19 does not seem to be behaving the same way as influenza and other respiratory viruses and fewer than 10 per cent of children in household transmission clusters were the index case in a study that we've just completed," she said.

"So that's probably about a 40 per cent drop compared to what we might see with influenza.

"So children in daycare centres I think are safe to be there. I think that each family needs to make the best decision for their family.

"And for healthcare workers, we really do want them to remain on the frontline - and other frontline workers - and to provide a safe environment for their kids to be in."

She said centres were doing a lot more to make sure kids were following good hygiene.

Dr Bowen said international studies had showed fewer children had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and had a milder form of the infection.

She said children had the same symptoms as adults.

Children who have other medical problems are generally more at risk but there isn't much data to indicate how they've been affected in the pandemic.

Dr Bowen said less than 15 children had died globally.

"Globally the numbers are very small compared to what we're seeing with adults but it doesn't mean that children are completely safe from this virus."

Dr Bowen said parents and daycare workers needed to make sure children were getting every part of their hands when washing them.

Originally published as Are childcare centres still safe?



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