Indoors? Outdoors? Masks? Swimming? Experts weigh in on activities for children.

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Indoors? Outdoors? Masks? Swimming? Experts weigh in on activities for children.

As vaccinated Americans return to many parts of their prepandemic lives this summer, one group will be left out: children under 12, who cannot yet be vaccinated. So what should families with young children do when everyone else starts socializing again?

We asked experts as part of an informal New York Times survey. The group of 828 who responded included epidemiologists, who study public health, and pediatric infectious disease physicians, who research and treat children sick with diseases like Covid-19.

They noted that this phase was temporary. Pfizer has said vaccines for children ages 2 and up could come as soon as September. Of the survey respondents with young children, 92 percent said they would vaccinate their own children as soon as a shot was approved.

In the meantime, families with young children may need to retain more precautions, like masking and distancing, than their childless friends do. But they said some minimally risky activities could help counteract the mental health effects of pandemic living.

“Kids need to be able to be kids,” said Mac McCullough, an associate professor at Arizona State. “Outdoor activity isn’t perfectly safe, but its benefits are likely to outweigh its risks across an entire population.”

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