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How to protect kids under 12 from COVID-19

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all kids over two wear a mask in school.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Children are continuing to make up a larger percentage of new COVID-19 cases.

Kids under 12 aren't eligible for the vaccine, making them more at-risk. Experts say there are important steps you can take to protect your kids.

COVID-19 continues to be top of mind for parents all across the Carolinas as kids are back in class full-time. WCNC Charlotte took your concerns right to the experts.

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Our sources: 

  • Dr. Frank Esper,  a pediatric infectious disease doctor from the Cleveland Clinic
  • Dr. Carlos Paxtor, a pediatrician with Carolina Pediatrics in Rock Hill, and the "American Academy of Pediatrics 

Dr. Esper said he knows some parents are hesitant about the vaccine, but he said it's the best line of defense for your kids.

"These vaccines have shown to be very effective and very safe in children," Esper said. "We watch everybody very closely to make sure there are no severe side effects. But we can tell you that the infection is very severe, so when we balance the benefits and risks, the benefits far outweigh the risk." 

But what about kids that can't yet get the vaccine?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all kids over two wear a mask in school. They also say parents should make sure their kids are up to date on other vaccines.

Dr. Paxtor said one of the simplest things is actually the most beneficial in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

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"Please wash your hands," Paxtor said. "The best method to do this is with running water and soap. That is the simple, most important method." 

Doctors also said to assess your own family's risk before doing things like visiting elderly grandparents.

Paxtor also said if you have any kind of symptoms, even if they're minor, don't gather with others.

"Please do not expose yourself to anybody, even if you think it's just allergies," Paxtor said. 

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