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Taking precautions for kids can lower exposure risk to COVID-19 this Halloween


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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Halloween is just around the corner. But with the  COVID-19 vaccine not yet available for kids under 12 years old, what precautions should parents take?

Doctors say by following safe Halloween strategies, kids can still have fun while being protected from the virus.

Being a mom is a balance. With four kids, Erica Jensen of Saratoga Springs has something else to juggle this Halloween.

"Celebrating and making those memories for your child and keeping them safe," Jensen said. "My mom and dad always allowed for big, elaborate parties. With the delta variant causing those heightened cases, it is concerning."

Dr. Peter Lindgren, a pediatrician with Intermountain Healthcare, says it's still important to be cautious.

"I personally have a patient who's in the hospital right now with COVID. So it is not done," said Lindgren, who works at the Intermountain Memorial Clinic in Salt Lake City. "There are things that we can do safely. And I think trick-or-treating falls into that list."

He advises parents to remember the three C's to avoid: crowds, confined spaces and close contact.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19  spreads more easily indoors. You're more likely to be exposed when closer than 6 feet apart.

"If they're outdoors, you probably don't need to wear a mask," Lindgren said. "I think if one was to attend a Halloween party indoors, wearing a face-covering mask would be a good idea."

You may not be able to get young kids the  COVID-19  vaccine by Halloween, but you can get them the flu shot. Doctors recommend it for kids 6 months and older to keep them healthy.

"It is one of those viruses that actually is more severe in children," Lindgren said. Children younger than 5 are at higher risk of serious flu complications, according to the CDC.

By taking these precautions, Halloween is definitely "on."

Along with good memories, it's a teaching moment. "Because I cared, I took precautions," Jensen said.

Doctors say it's also important to remember good hand-washing before and after trick-or-treating.

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Heather Simonsen
Heather Simonsen is a five-time Emmy Award-winning enterprise reporter for KSL-TV. Her expertise is in health and medicine, drug addiction, science and research, family, human interest and social issues. She is the host and producer of KSL-TV’s Positively 50+ initiative.

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