30 November 2023

The power of parenting

Three different families. Three different stories. With one thing in common: Whatever a family’s situation, growing up feeling loved makes a critical difference in a child’s life. A mother hugs her daughter in Bolivia Becoming a single parent in Bolivia has meant a radical change in Sandra’s life. > Read now A man hugs his granddaughter A…, Raising the next generation, “I don’t know yet if I am a good mother, I only know I love my daughter.” Sandra, mother of Nathaly In the northern outskirts of La Paz in Bolivia, many women face the challenge of raising children on their own in an environment marked by economic hardships and patriarchal traditions. For Sandra, who studies law in the morning and designs shawls…, Rebuilding a family, A man hugs his granddaughter. When a devastating earthquake hit Türkiye on 6 February 2023, 10-year-old Sidra and her family's life was changed forever. As Sidra navigates life after the disaster and the death of her father and sister, her grandfather Hassan has stepped in as a pillar of strength and support. A young girls sitting alongside her…, A safe place, A family of three - parents and their son in the middle. In the face of their own mental health challenges, Eleanor, a journalist, and Robin, a major crimes detective, always knew parenting wouldn't be easy. Eleanor, diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, has been living with these conditions since childhood.…, The power of parenting, Every child deserves to grow up in a loving, nurturing and safe environment. But providing nurturing care takes time and resources – things that many parents and caregivers don’t have.  UNICEF believes every parent and caregiver should receive the support they need to give their children the best possible start in life. Caregivers who receive the…
01 September 2023

Navigating pregnancy and COVID-19

Pregnancy is a special time full of excitement and anticipation, but a positive COVID test can cause fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Read our expert tips on how to keep yourself and your baby safe., Jump to:, Understanding my risk How to protect myself If I have COVID-19 will I pass it to my baby? I have COVID-19. Can I safely breastfeed my baby? Getting the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant Getting the COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding COVID-19 vaccines and fertility, I'm pregnant. Am I at higher risk from COVID-19?, Pregnant women do not seem to be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. However, you are at higher risk of serious illness if you get COVID-19 while pregnant. You are also at higher risk of delivering your baby prematurely if you get COVID-19. That’s why it’s important that you – and the people around you – take precautions to protect against…, What should I do to protect myself from COVID-19 while pregnant?, Pregnant women should take the same precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection as other people. To help protect yourself and people around you: Make sure you are up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccine doses, including booster doses, as recommended to you by your health authority. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub., If I have COVID-19 will I pass it to my baby?, Transmission of the virus while your baby is in the womb or during birth is possible, but very rare. Most babies won't develop COVID-19 disease, and those who develop symptoms tend to recover quickly.  The best thing you can do is to take all necessary precautions to prevent yourself from contracting COVID-19. If you’re pregnant or have just given…, I have COVID-19. Can I safely breastfeed my baby?, Yes. Transmission of active COVID-19 (virus that can cause infection) through breast milk and breastfeeding has not been detected to date, so there is no reason to stop or avoid breastfeeding. The benefits of skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks of transmission and illness associated with COVID-19. If…, Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant?, Yes, you can get vaccinated if you are pregnant. Although the overall risk of severe illness from COVID-19 remains low, pregnancy puts you at higher risk of severe illness compared to people who are not pregnant. You are also at higher risk of delivering your baby prematurely if you contract COVID-19.Many people around the world have been…, Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m breastfeeding?, Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is very safe and there is no risk to the mother or baby. None of the current COVID-19 vaccines have live virus in them, so there is no risk of you transmitting COVID-19 to your baby through your breastmilk from the vaccine. In fact, the antibodies that you have after vaccination may go through the breast milk and help…, I plan to have a child. Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?, No, you may have seen false claims on social media, but there is no evidence that any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can affect fertility in women or men. You should get vaccinated if you are currently trying to become pregnant.
30 June 2023

Strengthening care for families and supporting mental health

Being mentally healthy gives us the ability to enjoy life and cope with good and bad days. For children, it is vital to their ability to understand and manage their emotions, form nurturing and meaningful connections, play, learn and grow. The pandemic highlighted just how much our mental health is a reflection of the world around us. It isn't…, It starts at home, Safe and nurturing environments at home are fundamental to the emotional and psychological development of children and adolescents. The presence of a stable adult caregiver supports children’s and adolescents’ overall sense of wellbeing. In times of crises, re-establishing routines supports a child’s or adolescent’s coping and recovery.   While…, Caring for the caregiver  , Research  shows that supporting the mental health of parents and caregivers can avert instances of abuse, neglect, and adverse experiences during childhood.  When parents are supported and enabled to parent well, everyone benefits. Evidence-based parenting interventions have a positive impact on the mental well-being of both the caregivers and…, Family-friendly policies , The bottom line is that caregivers need time, resources and services to be the very best they can be. Family-friendly policies, defined as those which enable families to reconcile work and family life, are essential in this context.   Family-friendly policies, including paid parental leave; access to affordable, quality childcare; breastfeeding…, The role of government and business , Despite the clear benefits of family-friendly policies for children, families, businesses and economies at large, progress in the business and public policy spaces is lacking.   Globally,  the vast majority of working parents and caregivers have no or insufficient access to family-friendly policies, especially in informal work settings that fall…
17 May 2023

How to talk to your children about COVID-19 vaccines

Getting a vaccine can be a scary and daunting experience for some children. Here are some tips for helping to explain what can be a complicated topic in simple and reassuring terms.    , 1. Make sure you’re up to date yourself, Before talking to your children about COVID-19 vaccines, it is important that you understand them yourself. It’s also crucial that you’re able to communicate about these vaccines in ways that your child will understand depending on their age. A great place to start is our conversation with Dr. Mike Varshavski.   , 2. Ask and listen, Invite your child to share what they have heard about COVID-19 vaccines and listen to their responses. There’s a chance they’ll be excited about getting the vaccine and won’t have any worries, but also the prospect that they’ve heard things that will lead to questions and concerns. That’s completely normal and you should be prepared for that. It…, 3. Be honest with them, Children have a right to know what is going on, but it should be explained to them in an age-appropriate way. Keep in mind that kids take their emotional cues from adults, so even if you are worried for your little one knowing that they might be uncomfortable, try not to overshare your fears with your child. Play can be a helpful tool for working…, 4. Let them know you’re doing it for their safety , It’s important that your child understands that you’re taking them to get the COVID-19 vaccine because it will help to keep them healthy and safe. Let them know that you’re doing it to help protect them against severe illness, and to help protect others around them.   , 5. Answer their questions, Here are some effective responses to keep in your back pocket for questions your child may have about COVID-19 vaccines: What is a vaccine? A vaccine is like a shield that protects you from an illness. The vaccine stimulates your body’s natural defenses and prepares your body to fight the disease faster and more effectively.  How do vaccines work…
25 October 2022

What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines

Vaccines save millions of lives each year. The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are a crucial step in helping us get back to doing more of the things we enjoy with the people we love. We’ve gathered the latest expert information to answer some of the most common questions about COVID-19 vaccines. Keep checking back as we will…, What are the benefits of getting vaccinated?, Vaccines save millions of lives each year and a COVID-19 vaccine could save yours. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, providing strong protection against serious illness and death. WHO reports that unvaccinated people have at least 10 times higher risk of death from COVID-19 than someone who has been vaccinated.  It is important to be…, Who should be vaccinated first?, Each country must identify priority populations, which WHO recommends are frontline health workers (to protect health systems) and those at highest risk of death due to COVID-19, such as older adults and people with certain medical conditions. Other essential workers, such as teachers and social workers, should then be prioritized, followed by…, When shouldn’t you be vaccinated against COVID-19?, If you have any questions about whether you should receive a COVID-19 vaccine, speak to your healthcare provider. At present, people with the following health conditions should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine to avoid any possible adverse effects: If you have a history of severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of a COVID-19 vaccine. If you…, Should I get vaccinated if I already had COVID-19?, Yes, you should get vaccinated even if you’ve previously had COVID-19. While people who recover from COVID-19 may develop natural immunity to the virus, it is still not certain how long that immunity lasts or how well it protects you against COVID-19 reinfection. Vaccines offer more reliable protection, especially against severe illness and death…, Which COVID-19 vaccine is best for me?, All WHO-approved vaccines have been shown to be highly effective at protecting you against severe illness and death from COVID-19. The best vaccine to get is the one most readily available to you. You can find a list of those approved vaccines on WHO’s site .   Remember, if your vaccination involves two doses, it’s important to receive both to…, How do COVID-19 vaccines work?, Vaccines work by mimicking an infectious agent – viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms that can cause a disease. This ‘teaches’ our immune system to rapidly and effectively respond against it. Traditionally, vaccines have done this by introducing a weakened form of an infectious agent that allows our immune system to build a memory of it. This…, Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?, Yes, COVID-19 vaccines have been safely used to vaccinate billions of people. The COVID-19 vaccines were developed as rapidly as possible, but they had to go through rigorous testing in clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and effectiveness. Only if they meet these standards can a vaccine receive…, How were COVID-19 vaccines developed so quickly?, Scientists were able to develop safe effective vaccines in a relatively short amount of time due to a combination of factors that allowed them to scale up research and production without compromising safety:  Because of the global pandemic, there was a larger sample size to study and tens of thousands of volunteers stepped forward  Advancements in…, What are the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?, Vaccines are designed to give you immunity without the dangers of getting the disease. Not everyone does, but it’s common to experience some mild-to-moderate side effects that go away within a few days on their own. Some of the mild-to-moderate side effects you may experience after vaccination include: Arm soreness at the injection site Mild fever…, How do I find out more about a particular COVID-19 vaccine?, You can find out more about COVID-19 vaccines on WHO’s website .  , Can I stop taking precautions after being vaccinated?, Keep taking precautions to protect yourself, family and friends if there is still COVID-19 in your area, even after getting vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against serious illness and death, but no vaccine is 100% effective.   The vaccines offer less protection against infection from the Omicron variant, which is now the…, Can I still get COVID-19 after I have been vaccinated? What are ‘breakthrough cases’?, A number of vaccinated people may get infected with COVID-19, which is called a breakthrough infection. In such cases, people are much more likely to only have milder symptoms. Vaccine protection against serious illness and death remains strong. With more infectious virus variants such as Omicron, there have been more breakthrough infections. That…, How long does protection from COVID-19 vaccines last?, According to WHO, the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines wanes around 4-6 months after the primary series of vaccination has been completed. Taking a booster to strengthen your protection against serious disease is recommended if it is available to you. , Do the COVID-19 vaccines protect against variants?, The WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe illness and death. However, the vaccines offer less protection against infection from Omicron, which is the dominant variant globally. That's why it's important to get vaccinated and continue measures to reduce the spread of the virus – which helps to reduce…, Do I need to get a booster shot?  , Booster doses play an important role in protecting against severe disease, hospitalization and death.  WHO recommends that you take all COVID-19 vaccine doses recommended to you by your health authority as soon as it is your turn, including a booster dose if recommended.  Booster shots should be given first to high priority groups. Data shows that…, What do we know about the bivalent COVID-19 booster doses that have been developed to target Omicron?, Bivalent COVID-19 booster shots have now been developed with both the original strain of the coronavirus and a strain of Omicron. These have been designed to better match the Omicron subvariants that have proven to be particularly transmissible. Lab studies have shown that these doses help you to mount a higher antibody response against Omicron.…, Can I receive different types of COVID-19 vaccines?  , Yes, however, policies on mixing vaccines vary by country. Some countries have used different vaccines for the primary vaccine series and the booster. Check with your local health authorities for guidance where you live and speak with your healthcare provider if you have any questions on what is best for you. , I’m pregnant. Can I get vaccinated against COVID-19?, Yes, you can get vaccinated if you are pregnant. COVID-19 during pregnancy puts you at higher risk of becoming severely ill and of giving birth prematurely.  Many people around the world have been vaccinated against COVID-19 while pregnant or breastfeeding. No safety concerns have been identified for them or their babies. Getting vaccinated while…, I’m breastfeeding. Should I get vaccinated against COVID-19?, Yes, if you are breastfeeding you should take the vaccine as soon as it is available to you. It is very safe and there is no risk to the mother or baby. None of the current COVID-19 vaccines have live virus in them, so there is no risk of you transmitting COVID-19 to your baby through your breastmilk from the vaccine. In fact, the antibodies that…, Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?, No, you may have seen false claims on social media, but there is no evidence that any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can affect fertility in women or men. You should get vaccinated if you are currently trying to become pregnant., Could a COVID-19 vaccine disrupt my menstrual cycle?, Some people have reported experiencing a disruption to their menstrual cycle after getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Although data is still limited, research is ongoing into the impact of vaccines on menstrual cycles. Speak to your healthcare provider if you have concerns or questions about your periods., Should my child or teen get a COVID-19 vaccine?, An increasing number of vaccines have been approved for use in children. They’ve been made available after examining the data on the safety and efficacy of these vaccines, and millions of children have been safely vaccinated around the world. Some COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for children from the age of 6 months old. Check with your local…, How do I talk to my kids about COVID-19 vaccines?, News about COVID-19 vaccines is flooding our daily lives and it is only natural that curious young minds will have questions – lots of them. Read our explainer article for help explaining what can be a complicated topic in simple and reassuring terms. It’s important to note that from the millions of children that have so far been vaccinated…, My friend or family member is against COVID-19 vaccines. How do I talk to them?, The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a huge step forward in our global effort to end the pandemic. This is exciting news, but there are still some people who are skeptical or hesitant about COVID-19 vaccines. Chances are you know a person who falls into this category. We spoke to Dr. Saad Omer, Director at the Yale Institute…, How can I protect my family until we are all vaccinated?, Safe and effective vaccines are a game changer, but even once vaccinated we need to continue taking precautions for the time being to protect ourselves and others. Variants like Omicron have proven that although COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing severe disease, they’re not enough to stop the spread of the virus alone. The most…, Can COVID-19 vaccines affect your DNA?, No, none of the COVID-19 vaccines affect or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines teach the cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside the body. This response produces antibodies which keep you protected against the virus. mRNA is different from DNA and only stays inside the cell for about 72…, Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain any animal products in them?, No, none of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines contain animal products., I’ve seen inaccurate information online about COVID-19 vaccines. What should I do?, Sadly, there is a lot of inaccurate information online about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines. A lot of what we’re experiencing is new to all of us, so there may be some occasions where information is shared, in a non-malicious way, that turns out to be inaccurate. Misinformation in a health crisis can spread paranoia, fear and stigmatization. It…, What is COVAX?, COVAX is a global effort committed to the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. No country will be safe from COVID-19 until all countries are protected. There are 190 countries and territories engaged in the COVAX Facility, which account for over 90 per cent of the world’s population. Working with CEPI,…
30 June 2022

Towards a world of play and connection, for every child

Whether it's throwing a ball, dancing or a game of tag, everyone knows play when they see it. Irrespective of economic background or culture, people all over the world engage in play in one form or another. Yet not everyone understands play is a biological imperative for every child. Play is how young children learn to navigate the world, and…, Why is play important?, Children learn best through play. Play creates powerful learning opportunities across all areas of development – intellectual, social, emotional and physical. Through play, children learn to forge connections with others, build a wide range of leadership skills, develop resilience, navigate relationships and social challenges as well as conquer…, What are the challenges and solutions?, Promoting safe and healthy environments for parents to engage and play with children is important for them to thrive. However, parents and caregivers may experience a lack of bandwidth and support to engage in play with their children due to various stressors, including financial, personal and professional ones. Moreover, a low awareness of the…, Call to action, Now more than ever, we need to provide parents and caregivers with the support needed to care for and play with their children. Together, we can build a world of play and connection for every child everywhere. As part of a new advocacy partnership, UNICEF and the LEGO Foundation are supporting countries around the world to increase the number of…