Coronavirus health and hygiene for parents

Published: 10/03/2020

It’s practically impossible at the moment to switch on the news, pick up a newspaper, or listen to the radio without hearing or seeing the words coronavirus or COVID-2019. 

At myTamarin the health and well being of our parents, nannies and maternity nurses is of paramount importance. That’s why we want to make sure you’re as fully armed with facts about the coronavirus and the precautionary measures we are taking at myTamarin to help prevent the spread of the virus.

This guide has been written for parents and is meant as a guide only. You need to be totally comfortable with any steps you take. We have published a similar version for our nannies and maternity nurses.


First and foremost, we’re making sure all our parents and nannies are familiar with the preventative steps that should be taken to help avoid catching or spreading coronavirus.

We are continuing to place nannies with families but we are taking additional precautionary measures and asking parents and nannies to self-declare if they have been in one of the listed countries, have been otherwise exposed to the virus, or are displaying any of the symptoms.

In addition, we have also created a short practical (and free!) course for nannies with tips and guidelines to prepare them for different situations. If you’d like to get details of the course to pass on to your nanny sign up here. Or, ask your nanny to sign up directly here


What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

The coronavirus symptoms and severity of symptoms can vary greatly. The main symptoms to look out for are a high temperature (or fever), a cough, and a shortness of breath. These symptoms can also apply to much more common illnesses such as a cold or the flu. So, if you are displaying these symptoms it doesn’t necessarily mean you have the coronavirus.

How do I avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus?

These four preventative measures will reduce the chances of you catching the coronavirus or spreading it:

Wash your hands frequently

Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water to kill viruses that may be on your hands. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, or for as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice! Hand sanitiser is also a good way to keep hands clean when out and about, but washing your hands is always better.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. That’s why you’re advised to wash your hands often. If your hands are contaminated, they can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose, or mouth and from there the virus can enter your body.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you and the people around you follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the tissue immediately. Covering your nose or mouth with your hand isn’t enough of a barrier.

Maintain social distance

It may not always be possible but try to maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes, they will spray small liquid droplets form their nose which may contain the virus. And if you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets and catch the virus.

Will wearing a face mask protect me from catching the coronavirus?

Wearing a mask does not guarantee protecting you completely from the virus, but does protect others if you have tested positive, or are carrying the virus but are asymptomatic. Wearing a mask is mandatory if you are in shops or on public transport, so make sure you have one on you at all times.


Are there any specific guidelines around germs in the home and cleaning?

To help prevent the spread of coronavirus in your home:

·      use disposable cloths or paper towels when possible

·      don’t share towels and wash all towels at 60C (140F) immediately after use

·      wash sheets, etc., at 60C (140F) – once a week for adults and every two days for children

·      don’t leave dirty laundry in the washing machine as any remaining germs can multiply rapidly

·      don’t share plates, glasses or utensils and wash well immediately after use

·      for toys that can’t be put in the washing machine, wash them with soapy water, rinse with clear water and wipe dry with disposable paper towels. It’s also advisable to disinfect them with a chlorine bleach solution of one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water

Is there any advice on preparing meals for children?

·   wash your hands before and after you have finished preparing food for the children

·      if you are tasting the food before you give it to the children, use different utensils

·      don't blow on the children's food to cool it down


What should I do if I have a temperature, cough or difficulty breathing?

If you are feeling unwell and think you are experiencing any of the coronavirus symptoms, you must immediately self-isolate and book a coronavirus test. If your test comes back negative, you can go back to work, but if you are positive, you must stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days. You must also provide the details of those you have been in contact with to track and trace.

For more information, please refer to the most up-to-date guidelines provided on the government website, and remember to check regularly for the latest update.

Should I continue to hold face-to-face interviews and trial nannies?

If you have visited one of the listed countries, avoid holding in-person interviews within 2 weeks of returning. If you start to display symptoms of the virus during that time, call your doctors surgery or 119 if they are not open.

What should I do if I am interviewing or trialling a nanny?

Please make sure you are aware of the steps you can take to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus and more specifically:

  • no hand shaking, hugging or kissing. 
  • wash your hands before the nanny arrives and immediately after she leaves. Dry them thoroughly with paper-based products.
  • if you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue or your bent elbow and throw the tissue away as soon as possible
  • (if the children are there) let the nanny know if it is okay for her to play with them or not

One of the main reasons you’re trialling a nanny is to see how she nanny gets on with and interacts with your children. We have advised all of our nannies to wash their hands thoroughly as soon as they enter someone’s home and be aware of the preventative measures they should take. 

Should I ask my nanny to stay away if they start closing schools and businesses and I am working from home? 

If it comes to schools and businesses closing, this is to avoid the spread of the virus from keeping too many people together in an enclosed space. So, if places are closing just for prevention and not in order to put people in isolation, then yes there’s no reason why you shouldn’t ask your nanny to come to work as usual. The same applies if you are working from home for preventative reasons as you’ll still need your nanny to look after the children and keep them entertained.  

What happens if a member of the family gets the virus?

If a member of your family gets the coronavirus or has been exposed to the virus, they and the rest of your family will need to self-isolate for 2 weeks. And as an extended member of your family, the same applies to your nanny too. If she is a live-out nanny, you can decide between you whether it’s better for her to stay with the family, or to self-isolate at home. 


Most of the cases of coronavirus are mild and won’t result in death. As with many other viruses, certain age groups, especially the elderly will be more susceptible. And in general, relatively few cases are seen among children.

Worldometer has published figures on the probability of the coronavirus fatality rates based on age group:

People aged 80+ years old have the highest probability of dying as a result of the coronavirus @ 14.8%

People aged 50-59 years old are @ 1.3%

People aged 40-49 years old are @ 0.4%

People aged 30-39 years old are @ 0.2%

People aged 20-29 years old are @ 0.2%

0 – 9 years old – are extremely unlikely to die from the coronavirus

In a similar way, the probability of coronavirus being fatal is also increased in cases where patients suffer from pre-existing medical conditions. Find out more here.

If you would like to receive details of our short, practical (and free!) course, 'Coronavirus for nannies", sign up here:

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Nanny Sign Up

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