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Covid-19: should you send your children to their grandparents on All Saints’ Day?

On September 17, Olivier Véran declared that “Children, in primary, nursery, nursery, are unlikely to contaminate each other and to contaminate the adults around them”, based on the recommendations of the High Council for Public Health.

However, some studies on the coronavirus, including that conducted in August by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, point to a contagiousness in children that could be equivalent to that of adults. So how do you decide whether or not it is reasonable to entrust your children to grandparents during school holidays?

According to Professor Christèle Gras-Le Guen, Secretary General of the French Pediatric Society and Head of Department at the Nantes University Hospital, “The studies of tracing which have been carried out so far show that children very rarely contaminate adults, it is adults the main contaminating agents. If some studies can be confusing, this is due in particular to the fact that they count all young people under 18. However, we must distinguish between adolescents and children. If we analyze the age groups more precisely, we find that the virus does not circulate in children under 10 years old. “

Who is responsible?

Younger people little infected by the virus, since only 5% of Covid-19 cases concern children, and therefore little able to infect adults. Once these elements are established, the problem is not resolved, because the health situation of each family is different. What to do when the ancestors are in poor health but are eager to see their grandchildren again? Should we refuse this presence to the elderly, sometimes to the detriment of their morale? How not to feel guilty by entrusting your children to grandparents considered “at risk”? Is it for the parents to decide, or for the grandparents?

After weeks of turning around the problem, Cécile finally chose to rely on an outside opinion, by questioning her mother’s doctor. ” My mother being particularly fragile, we did not want to take unnecessary risks, except that she very much wanted to see her grandchildren. At first, I told her that it was up to her to decide, because I didn’t want to force our decision on her, but my husband felt that it was putting her in an awkward position: if in doubt, she wouldn’t. probably not dared to share his reservations with us. Finally, to objectify the choice, I asked her to ask her doctor the question..

Deciding while ignoring the feelings of his parents or, on the contrary, letting them take responsibility for being with their grandchildren at their own risk, the choice is delicate.

Barrier gestures remain essential

A first element to take into account above all is the will of the grandparents. Faced with people at risk and who prefer not to expose themselves, no need to insist. “My mother has very fragile health and delicately made us understand that, despite her desire to see her grandchildren again, it scared her, says Sébastien. It was therefore excluded that we imposed anything on her, the guilt if she had caught Covid-19 would have been too strong. “

When health does not follow and the person shows a desire to see their grandchildren again, the decision is more complex. “It is up to each parent to balance the benefit / risk, explains Professor Gras-Le Guen. But keep in mind that if the child has not been in contact with a positive case, and the barrier gestures are respected, the risk is limited. “

The child must still be old enough to understand what these barrier gestures are, although they seem to be well integrated by most children: “We have seen 3-year-old children conscientiously wash their hands with hydroalcoholic gel”, notes the pediatrician, who recalls that the main contaminants are anyway adults. Even if there is no such thing as zero risk, and we cannot exclude that a child may infect their grandparents, elderly people with fragile health actually have an interest in paying attention to their contact with other adults. .


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