Visitor Guidelines at UNM Children's Hospital

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visiting guidelines have changed to ensure the safety of our patients, healthcare workers and staff.

Effective April 29, all patients entering UNM Hospitals and clinics must wear a face mask. Whenever possible, please practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. Please avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth.

Patients are limited to two visitors at a time. General visiting hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. You may be required to check-in upon entry. Children must be supervised. Do not visit if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Visiting Information

All patients and visitors must wear a face mask upon entering UNMH facilities. Exceptions include:

  • Children under 2 years of age
  • People who can’t wear a mask due to known medical problems
  • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help

UNMH Requirements

  • Cloth masks are acceptable for asymptomatic visitors and patients – those who don’t have a cough or other symptoms of COVID-19 such as shortness of breath, fever, shaking chills, chest pain, loss of sense of smell or taste or new headaches.
  • If visitors and patients do not have access to cloth masks, a mask will be provided upon entry to the building.
  • Patients with symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory infections will be provided a hospital-issued procedure mask per our unit-specific PPE guidance.
  • Patients should wear their procedure mask when healthcare workers are within six feet of the patient to limit the spread of infection.
  • Additionally, patients must wear the mask when in inpatient units, outside of the clinic room, within the building, and during transport to another unit/department.
  • In rooms with multiple patients, patients should wear their mask as much as possible.
  • If a visitor develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while at UNMH, the person should be provided a hospital-issued procedure mask, instructions on how to seek further care and escorted out of the unit/clinic.
  • If the patient’s or visitor’s mask becomes soiled, saturated or damaged, a replacement face mask will be provided.

Mask Guidance

Masks should be worn throughout the hospital. Masks may be removed for eating or drinking. Patients and visitors should be instructed that if they must touch or adjust their cloth face covering, they should perform hand hygiene immediately before and after.

If there is an anticipated shortage of procedure masks, procedure masks should be prioritized for healthcare workers and then for patients with symptoms of COVID-19 (as supply allows).

Does New Mexico have more COVID-positive children than other states?

New Mexico ranks second among states in percent of positive cases in patients under 20 years of age. In NM, 12% of positive cases have been children and teens; the national average is 3%. However, this does not necessarily mean that New Mexico has more positive cases in children; we may just be identifying more of our younger cases than other states.

Are kids in New Mexico getting sicker with COVID-19 compared to other states?

No. Most children have had mild symptoms and very few have been hospitalized. In general, children seem to be less severely affected by COVID-19 than adults, and this is true in NM as well.

How can children get tested?

Children can get tested wherever adults are tested, including at public health offices or testing events. The Department of Health COVID website has information about testing events in your area. If your child tests positive, you will receive a call from the Department of Health to discuss what to do in your specific situation.

Is it safe to take my child to the doctor for a well check?

Pediatric and family physician offices are open and want to see children, especially those under five who need immunizations. Offices are using COVID-safe practices, including separating sick and well children.

It is very important to maintain your child’s immunization schedule so that your child does not come down with a preventable illness such as measles or pertussis. Well checks also provide necessary services such as screening for developmental milestones, counseling and parental guidance.

Should children wear masks in public places?

New Mexico guidance is that children three and over should wear masks in public places as much as possible. Masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by catching droplets from speaking, coughing or sneezing so those droplets do not infect others. Children with severe cognitive or respiratory impairments may have a hard time tolerating a face mask, so special precautions may be needed. Children should remove their masks while eating or drinking.

In addition to the new COVID-19 safety measures, we ask that all visitors be respectful of patients and staff by doing the following:

  • Always wash your hands with warm soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel when entering the hospital and patient rooms, after eating or using the bathroom and after sneezing or coughing. Handwashing is the best protection against spreading diseases.
  • Keep children under constant supervision of an adult. To ensure the safety of patients and staff, don’t bring children younger than 14 years old as visitors during flu season.
  • Ask a staff member for the appropriate time to visit with your loved one. He or she may need quiet time to heal.
  • Speak softly and respect patients who need rest.
  • One family member may stay overnight on the fold-out bed in each patient room. Ask about special arrangements for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
  • To help us provide the best care and ensure privacy and safety, step outside the room if a staff member asks you to during bedside procedures.

These rules might change to ensure a safe, healing environment. Ask your loved one’s care team for specific guidelines.