The situation of children regarding COVID-19 is relatively better than that of older adults. Experts note that although inflammatory blood vessel disease has been identified in the United States and Britain in children who have been infected with COVID-19, these are rare cases similar to Kawasaki syndrome, which can be serious but are uncommon as the vast majority of children do not suffer serious consequences from the new coronavirus.

A recent study published in the journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, on more than 500 European children aged 3 months to 18 years hospitalized by COVID-19, confirmed that the majority only suffer from mild forms (with fever and cough). Very few cases of COVID-19 in children results in death. However, children and young people can spread it to others their age and, most worryingly, to older adults. “This is the first study to include boys from different countries and multiple hospitals,” reported Dr. Begonia Santiago-García, one of the authors of the European study. “We found that children who have other respiratory viruses (i.e. flu) along with COVID-19 are more likely to be admitted to intensive care.”
Despite the pandemic, pediatricians stress the importance of keeping vaccinations up to date. However, the greatest concern of mothers and fathers today is not respiratory diseases, so frequent in children, but the consequences of social isolation and lack of contact with classmates, teachers, family members, and friends.

There are already children who show signs of extreme fear of leaving their homes and even return to earlier stages of their development. On the other hand, some young people increase risk behaviors (such as going out without a mask or drinking alcohol) or they isolate themselves completely in their rooms.
There is scientific evidence that “quarantine” and preventive isolation can have consequences on the mental health of children and adolescents, experts who reviewed a series of pediatric studies recently concluded. Loneliness is significantly associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, injury, abuse of substances, and even suicidal tendencies.

Child psychiatrists and psychologists recommend looking out for inattention, irritability, and extreme attachment as symptoms of stress, especially in young children. Listening to them, maintaining daily habits and routines, encouraging playtime, accompanying them in school assignments, and encouraging contact with friends and family through video calls is the unanimous recipe for getting through quarantines as well as possible. However, professional help may be required if stress symptoms are prolonged to avoid long-term traumatic consequences, especially in children and young people who are vulnerable due to having suffered psychological disorders before the pandemic or due to the environment in which they live.

Children have a great capacity to adapt to new situations, but society has to help them understand the uncertainties and changes in habits during the pandemic. In addition to teaching them to wash their hands with soap and water frequently, to wear face masks, and to keep two meters of distance from other people, it is essential to attend to their emotional and social needs in order to avoid mental health issues.