With the autumn season officially in full swing, every family is more than ready for some fun fall activities on the weekends. There are so many to choose from — pumpkin picking, apple picking, hiking, hay rides — but is it all safe? Sure, they're outside, but is something like a corn maze safe to visit right now with the COVID-19 pandemic still hanging over everyone's heads?
Because corn mazes are totally outdoors, they seem like they would be a safe and fun activity for families who may be cooped up in the house a little bit more than they would like to be lately. And luckily, experts generally think so, too. Pediatric psychologist Dr. Forrest Talley tells Romper, "From the data we now have, it appears safe for children to go out and enjoy time at a corn maze. Transmission of the disease is most likely to occur when one is indoors having prolonged exposure — exposure for more than a few minutes when in close proximity — to others who are infected."
Dr. Vikram Tarugu also previously told Romper that a corn maze is a great educational experience for your kids, and should be considered safe. Just avoid crowded hay rides.
Still, you want to be careful. If you do plan on taking the family to a corn maze or any other sort of social activity, like pumpkin picking, there are precautions you should take. "Tell children not to hug other children in the corn maze, and to have a good time," Talley recommends. "Role modeling a confident attitude helps children learn that life has risks, you must assess these risks realistically, and then behave accordingly." You should also keep basic hygiene in mind: make sure they are washing their hands regularly and covering their mouth when they cough or sneeze. You can also mask up through the corn maze in case you run into other people. And, obviously, if anyone in the family has any sort of illness or a fever, keep them at home.
A corn maze isn't your only activity option. Talley says that any kind of outdoor activity should be encouraged. So, feel free to make plans for pumpkin and apple picking, or just heading to a nearby park. As long as you're cautious, keeping your kid's hygiene in mind, and not allowing them to hang all over the kids, things should be OK. Wearing a mask is also a great choice, and looking for corn mazes that limit the number of occupants for social distancing can help, too.
Dr. Forrest Talley, Ph.D., Ivictus Psychological Services and co-training director of the University of California, Davis, Medical Center's CAARE clinic Department of Pediatrics