MILWAUKEE -- States are slowly starting to open up for the summer amid the coronavirus pandemic. But many are concerned of a possible second wave. Catherine Roberts with Consumer Reports joins FOX6 WakeUp with some tips to keep your family safe and entertained all summer.
Q: How concerned are Americans about the continued spread of COVID-19 as we head into the summer?
A: According to a recent survey by Consumer Reports, three-quarters of Americans are 'very' or 'somewhat' concerned about the continued transmission of COVID-19 virus in their communities.
In that same poll, lots of Americans said that even after their states lifted restrictions they planned to be pretty cautious about resuming all their daily activities such as going to movies, concerts, restaurants, public spaces, and etc. right away. In some cases, they plan to wait months before doing those things. So clearly a lot folks will be spending more time at home this summer.
Q: Parenting during this pandemic has no doubt been stressful for many people. What are some guiding principles that can help keep kids occupied and out of trouble?
If you can, try to keep your daily schedule as consistent as possible so that you and your kids know what to expect. That will help your kids get through each day, and reduce some of the chaos that can lead to injuries.
Make your home environment as safe as possible. Try as you might, you can`t keep an eye on your kids 24/7, so you really want to reduce or eliminate the things around the house that can hurt them. For instance, if you know you`re going to be working in an upstairs bedroom while your 2-year-old is playing in the room, make sure it`s free of dangerous items like small magnets and hanging cords from window coverings, and that the baby gate on the stairs is closed.
And don`t forget to take breaks when you can. For the sake of your mental health. If you have a partner, trade off childcare shifts. If you`re a single parent, allow some rest or relaxation when your child is sleeping as opposed to instinctively diving into your to-do list. At the very least, burn off some steam either with your family or on your own by going for a walk or having a mini dance party. You`ll come back refreshed and better equipped to hold down the fort.
Q: What about when sending the kids outside? What should parents keep in mind?
Don`t forget the sunscreen. Little skin needs to be protected from the sun's harmful rays, too. One product that we recommend is Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70. It`s a CR Best Buy. It did excellent in our tests at providing protection from the sun`s UVA and UVB rays, and it's a good bargain at $8 a bottle.
• Put sunscreen on at least 15 minutes before you go outside.
• Use about a teaspoon per body part or area that`s not covered up with clothing.
• CR recommends using sprays on kids only as a last resort, as they are more likely to inhale the ingredients, which could cause lung irritation. If you must use a spray, spray it into your hands and rub it onto your child`s skin.
• You can find additional sunscreen recommendations at CR.org.
Q: You also want to remember the bug spray to keep the insects at bay, right?
Definitely. The number of bug-borne diseases is increasing, according to the CDC.. And the number of places they're spreading to is also on the rise. This includes familiar diseases like the mosquito-borne West Nile virus and tick-borne Lyme disease, as well as some lesser-known ones such as the Powassan virus and tularemia, which are both spread by tick bites.
A key component of personal protection is insect repellents. One product we recommend is Ben`s Tick & Insect Repellent Wipes. It did excellent in our lab tests at repelling insects and ticks. These are wipes. But whatever the type of repellent be it a spray, wipe, or lotion our tests have consistently shown that products made with the active ingredient deet, in concentrations of 15 to 30 percent, have proved most consistently to provide high levels of protection against biting bugs.
Q: Lastly, inevitably there will be rainy days when the kids can`t go outside. What should we keep in mind about screen time?
These days, when you can stream just about anything, it`s important to remember that not all content is suitable for kids. So no matter which service or device you have - be sure to utilize the parental controls. There`s an excellent how-to guide available on CR.org.