Government guidelines in England are that children under 3 years should not wear a mask or face covering of any kind, as babies and small children wearing masks may increase their the risk of suffocation and other hazards, such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Parents need to be aware that babies and small children are unable to communicate effectively if they are having trouble breathing.
As a new parent, you may be concerned that your baby could get coronavirus, although the risks are very low. This NHS Coronavirus: Parent information for newborn babies leaflet (PDF, 1Mb) tells you what to look out for and how to seek help if you have concerns.
For more information on recognising signs of illness in your baby see our Looking after you and your baby webpage.
There are simple guidelines from the NHS for looking after newborns if either you or baby show symptoms:
- Continue to breastfeed your baby if you are doing so. See our Feeding Your Baby During the Covid-19 Outbreak webpage for more information.
- It is important that you continue to follow safer sleep advice to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). For details see our Safer Sleep webpage.
- Any adult or child with symptoms should self-isolate in line with the stay at home guidance and get tested.
- If you show symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) try not to cough or sneeze on your baby. Make sure they are in their own separate sleep space such as a cot or Moses basket
- If your baby is unwell with a cold or fever don’t be tempted to wrap them up more than usual. Babies need fewer layers to lower their body temperature.
See The Lullaby Trust’s guidance on coronavirus and caring for your baby, for the latest advice on COVID-19 for if you are pregnant or have a young child.
For more important information on what new or expectant parents need to be aware of during the coronavirus pandemic, see our COVID-19 Information for Pregnant Women, New Mothers and their Families webpage.