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Please, bring you kids in... A Desperate Letter from a Pediatric Professional

Dear Parents,

I normally would tell you to get your kids outside and let them romp about with each other. Socialize, push around, climb the monkey bars, slide down the slide... It's good, healthy fun.


I just looked out my window and I can see 15 kids all roaming about. Granted, each are in smaller groups of 3-5, but there's that one kid always going between the groups. There's the shared equipment they are playing on. There's just too much sharing.

Yes, I'm enjoying learning this new skill of telepractice. I feel like a whole new world has opened up for my therapy approach and I'm really digging it. But I can't reach the kids who need me most; the ones who need a live human to interact with. The ones who simply can't engage with a screen, for whatever access-related reason that might be. I can't see them safely until we flatten the curve.

Why not? I mean, if I'm social distancing, and they're social distancing, why couldn't I just keep seeing them in their homes?

First, there's the issue where many of the children I see have underlying health conditions. According to the CDC, even developmental delay and autism considered an "at risk" population for COVID-19. Right there alone, majority of my caseload. I need to be extra cautious about my exposure because I can easily carry it onto them. While I might be fine, they will not be. Not to mention their parents or grandparents.

But what do your kids have to do with it? The more your kids mingle, the more germs will spread. The more germs will spread, the harder it is for me to stay safe from them. Social distancing is NOT a "fix". At this point, it's like putting a bandaid on a stab wound.

So why even bother? Because it's our responsibility as humans to take care of our community, including the weakest and most vulnerable. You also may not be aware if your child has an underlying medical condition. Maybe your child has undiagnosed asthma? Or maybe one of their friends does.

The second reason I can't just social distance and assume they are too, is because, well, they most likely can't. Grocery store trips are challenging, even more so with children. I need to get out to the grocery store too. I need supplies every so often. I take proper precautions, I am even fortunate enough to have a mask that I purchased well before the shortage around them. Even with proper precautions, nothing is 100%.

Unless, you just stay home as much as possible. Play in your backyard. Ride bikes when no one else is around. Build a fort inside. Build a fort in your backyard too. Get cups and attach them to strings, make an old school telephone between the two forts. Give them their iPads, Playstations and Xbox. Maybe set up a homeschool schedule, or maybe not. Teach them to cook something. Let them FaceTime their friends and "telework" their school together.

It's hard, I can't imagine. You kids don't understand; they're frustrated, they're scared. Reassure them this is temporary, and the quick we can all listen, the more temporary it will be. But that's they trick, we need to all listen.

Get your neighborhood friends away from each other. Please.


A Pediatric Professional

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