A man lifts a child as he walks along Queen Street in Arima on Saturday.

It’s almost part of Christmas tradition for children to visit malls with their relatives to observe decorations and to do some toy shopping.

But with the COVID-19 virus very much present within the population, parents are urged to be vigilant and even to leave them home while visiting these venues to prevent them from contracting or even transmitting the virus.

On December 5, it was revealed that three children were infected with the virus and were being treated at the Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility with the condition known as Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

Medical experts have said that many children with MIS-C had COVID-19 or had been around someone with the virus.

MIS-C in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, and feeling extra tired.

Dr Michelle Trotman said: “Unfortunately, these children have involvement of the heart. They are doing well but they do have involvement of the heart.”

Chief Executive Officer of SISU Global Wellness and Former Medical Consultant at the Children’s Authority Dr Safeeya Mohammed told Guardian Media in an interview yesterday that if children are out in public to enjoy some of the festivities, extreme caution must be applied.

“Parents need to be mindful that children are fidget experts and always touching surfaces and their face, so as much as possible children, once out and especially in the busy shopping areas, must wear masks and hands kept sanitised. If possible should be…left at home to minimise risks…Children with underlying health issues, asthma, childhood diabetes…any immune deficiency, should be even more cautious and preferably stay at home.”

The host of CNC3’s Ask the Doctor and internal medicine specialist Dr Joel Teelucksingh explained that everyone needs to be extra vigilant at the malls which, at this time, are crowded, confined and enclosed close contact settings which create an environment ripe for the virus’ transmission. He advised that if children are taken into these environments, parents should ensure they adhere to all the hygienic practices and wear masks; even if they are not mandated under the regulations to wear it. Under the Public Health Regulations 6 (3) (a), any child over the age of eight is required to wear a face mask or shield.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) does not advise that children under the age of five wear facemasks except in certain circumstances.

If such circumstances were to occur, it advises that the children be monitored by parents at all times.