Viral Video of Toddler Shows the Repercussions of Growing Up During the Pandemic—and Sometimes You Gotta Laugh

This little girl expect everything to be hand sanitizer. It's no wonder—the coronavirus pandemic's taken up most of this little girl's life!

An image of a sanitizing machine on a background.
Photo: Sanitizer: Getty Images.

I recently realized that the coronavirus pandemic has taken up nearly half of my toddler's life. He was 18 months old when things started to get bad, so I'm sure he doesn't even remember much before mask-wearing, frequent hand-washing, and mostly staying at home became the new normal. For him, it's fun to sing "Happy Birthday" while scrubbing his hands at the sink and wearing his Mickey Mouse mask to daycare is standard. It's heartbreaking, but he doesn't really know a life other than this—and many other young children are in the exact same boat.

That's where this Generation Corona video comes in. Uploaded to Reddit by u/Tearhere76852, the video shows a little girl casually walking up to random things outside, touching them thinking they're hand sanitizer pumps, then rubbing her hands together after. She's got the full sanitization routine down pat.

Once you get past the initial shock of this toddler putting her hand near so many power outlets and just touching things out in the world in general—one Redditor called them "prime dog peeing spots"—the video, intended to be funny and cute, actually serves as a reminder that this insane period of time in our lives is actually all some toddlers and infants know.

"My 18 month old has never met another baby," one user commented. "It makes me sad sometimes that he's missing out on making friends and I hope he doesn't end up behind socially."

Another parent noted that their kids have started infusing COVID-19 into playtime: "Mine were playing doctors last week: 'I need to put a stick up your nose.'" I can attest to this one, as my 2-year-old regularly pulls out his toy forehead thermometer to check Mommy and Daddy's temperatures.

One Reddit user completely nails it: "If you don't laugh you cry." It's so true but, on a positive note, our kids are learning safety measures to prevent COVID-19 that they can use far after the pandemic's over. In fact, cases of the seasonal flu and other common illnesses are way down this year—and wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing have all helped with that.

"Their hands are going to be so clean," one commenter wrote. "I can't run water near my 18 month old without letting her wash her hands."

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), ​​​​​"washing hands with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds is the best way for children to get rid of germs, including COVID-19. If soap and water are not available, they can use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol." It's important to remember to supervise kids 5 and younger if they are using hand sanitizer, though.

"Please don't sanitize you kid's hands, just wash them," one user urged. "Doctors advice [sic] to avoid hand sanitizer as it kills germs but do not wash the hands and that is what kids should learn to do." There is some truth to this—because it's definitely better for your kids to use sanitizer than nothing when you're out and in a pinch—but mostly because there is a poisoning risk associated with hand sanitizer. If kids consume even a tiny amount of sanitizer, they could be at risk of alcohol poisoning—and it could be fatal. That's why you and your family should mostly focus on proper hand-washing.

So while we all just wait for COVID-19 to become a thing of the past, parents need to try to look on the bright side of things and remember that our kids are more resilient than we think. And, if anything, hopefully this means they'll have clean hands their whole lives.

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