Together again this summer: navigating the COVID transition

By Manasa Mantravadi



Time to Read: 7 min

Navigating the COVID Transition

As the pandemic continues to improve and families are slowly navigating the transition to "together again," many parents and children still have questions. We all want to return to a sense of normalcy, but understanding how to do this safely can be confusing.

Here's the thing. I'm a Pediatrician, so I am always guided by science, and I try to make evidence-based decisions. I'm also a mom of three young kids. Hence, I have to consider practical and meaningful choices that are best for our family. So, as the world continues to re-open, I am navigating the transition just like you. Here's how I am approaching our family's "Together Again" plan.

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

Want to know more? Check out our story and our products


My Doctor Hat: 

While most cases of COVID-19 infections in children are mild, some do become severely ill. As a pediatric hospitalist, I have cared for children admitted for COVID, including the rare but serious MISC. My lens is a bit skewed, given my line of work. Still, simply knowing that severe illness is a possibility, I err on the side of caution when considering our family's transition plan. 

My Mom Hat: 

Remote learning, not seeing grandparents, refraining from sports - these have been challenging and sometimes devastating moments this past year for my kids. Last year, I heard from so many parents - "My child is so sad." It's been a heartbreaking year; I am so eager to attend playdates and birthday parties, travel, and explore the world but most importantly, embrace our loved ones routinely.

The Vaccine

My Doctor Hat:

As a pediatrician, vaccines are not a political stance or subject of debate for me; I have seen all the positive outcomes in children's health with immunizations preventing major illnesses. The COVID-19 vaccine works similarly to other vaccines your child has had. It teaches the immune system to recognize and make antibodies to fight the virus. After vaccination, your child has less chance of getting COVID-19; if they get infected with the virus, they may not be as sick as they would be without the vaccine. Clinical trials showed COVID-19 vaccines to be remarkably safe and effective for adults and adolescents age 12 and older. The trials involved tens of thousands of volunteers. Now, clinical trials are underway for children as young as six months old. New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors in most cases.

My Mom Hat: 

My children are less than 12 years old, so they are not yet eligible for the vaccine. Although the adults in our family are vaccinated, we continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and frequent hand-washing when traveling outside of the home with our young children. I do this to help set an example and show solidarity with them since they are unvaccinated. As parents, modeling good behavior can be instrumental in helping children understand the why and how behind these important actions to keep them safe.

It's summer! Almost all of our friends and family are vaccinated now. I'm ready to hang out and enjoy some fun times with everyone again. But wait - my children are unvaccinated … It's ok - families can lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission during get-togethers, even with kids too young to get the vaccine yet. You just need to take some extra precautions.

TOGETHER AGAIN: How I'm transitioning back slowly as a Pediatrician Mom

Plan small outdoor gatherings

Tip: Choose outdoor venues whenever possible. Lowers the risk of transmitting the virus through the air. Limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people. If there is any need to go inside, open windows to increase air circulation and choose a space large enough that children can keep a safe physical distance of at least 3 feet from each other.

Consider individual cupcakes with candles just on the birthday child's, rather than a single, large cake.

Tip: When it's time to sing "Happy Birthday," skip blowing out the candles as that can spread germs into the air. 

Offer single-serving beverages and snacks rather than serving from shared containers.

Tip: Pre-filled glass or stainless steel cups decorated with guests' names can be a great take-home party favor.

Choose games and activities that don't involve close physical contact

Tip: Individual crafts, classic games like charades, nature scavenger hunts, or a "drive-in" movie with friends parked apart can all be fun ways to still gather safely.

Continue the basics: Wear a mask, social distance, and frequent hand washing

Tip: We still wear masks outside of the home when we are with our children who are too young for the vaccine for both infection control and modeling good behavior. However, with small outdoor gatherings of our family members who are vaccinated, we do go mask-free. It keeps it consistent for young kids.

It's been quite a year so go on … enjoy! Just remember to embrace the "Together Again" transition with some simple safety precautions to keep your family healthy this summer.

Update: Since the publishing of this blog, cases of COVID-19 have risen sharply due to the delta variant. Some states are reinstating mask mandates. Make sure to always check your local community transmission rates and follow local recommendations as well as the most recent and up to date guidance from the CDC. 

Hosting Essentials


*Much of the information above it from Healthy Children - the American Academy of Pediatrics Parenting website. It is a great resource that I refer parents to routinely. Check it out!

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

Mealtime Essentials for Your Little Ones

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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