How to Reduce COVID-19 Risk When Traveling With Unvaccinated Children

family traveling

The rising COVID-19 infections and the Delta variant might have you rethinking your summer travel plans, especially if someone in the family is unvaccinated.

CNN has tips and suggestions on how to possibly reduce the risk unvaccinated children may face while traveling.

Kids Are At Risk of Being Infected with COVID and Can Die

While the risk of severe disease and death from COVID is lower in kids than adults, CNN stresses it is still possible. So far, the virus has claimed the lives of nearly 500 people under the age of 17 in America. "In the past year, COVID-19 has been one of the most common infectious disease-related causes of death in children," CNN warns. Additionally, even if a child does not get very sick or even have symptoms, kids can transmit the virus to other kids and adults especially those who are not vaccinated.

Is Flying On a Plane Riskier Than Traveling by Car?

COVID outbreaks linked to air travel have reportedly been rare so far, the mask-wearing requirement is likely to greatly reduce the risk, but CNN notes the number of people you and your unvaccinated child will be exposed to while traveling is high. In addition to people on the plane, consider all other aspects of flying, going to the airport, taking a shuttle or public transit, and time spent in the airport. Risk is lower if the unvaccinated wear their masks as much as possible and distance from others outside of their household. But if you can opt for a car over a plane, CNN notes, "In general, traveling by car is likely to be safer, with exposures limited to infrequent rest stops and short meal breaks."

Your Destination Matters

The risk of infection is also linked to where you are going. Are you going to a forest or secluded beach or do you plan on traveling to a large city or a crowded amusement park? Many states currently have a "high" level of community transmission taking place in every county, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates. Check the level of transmission in the county you plan on traveling to here on the CDC's COVID Data Tracker

Who Will Your Unvaccinated Child Be Seeing and What Will They Be Doing during the Trip?

CNN notes who you see and interact with while on vacation, the number of people in attendance, if they are vaccinated or not, and whether the vacation activities will be indoors or outdoors can all affect the level of risk -- noting the more unvaccinated people you come in contact with the greater the risk your unvaccinated child faces. In general, the more outdoor activities the better, and the risk increases when spending time indoors with people who are not vaccinated.

Steps to Take to Reduce Risk While Traveling

After more than a year of less-than-normal life, a summer getaway is probably what every family needs, especially the kids. To make the most out of your trip and hopefully keep everyone as safe as possible, these safety precautions should reduce risk: wear masks indoors when interacting with the public, take part in as many outdoor activities as possible (including dining outside), and limit your exposure to large groups and anyone who is not vaccinated -- also keep washing and sanitizing your hands and do not travel if anyone in your party is sick or has symptoms.

The Doctors stress the best protection against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. If you or your children are eligible for the vaccine and have not received your shots, please consider getting vaccinated ASAP.

Find out where to get your free COVID-19 vaccine, here or search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you in the U.S.

More: Is It Safe to Eat at a Buffet While COVID-19 Is Still a Risk?

More: Traveling? Here's 10 Items to Pack in Your Carry-On Bag

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