By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With children headed to camp and other summer activities, state and local health officials are reminding parents about the importance of COVID safety precautions.

COVID hasn’t been as serious for children. Still millions of youngsters have been infected and since the vaccine isn’t approved for those under the age of 12, health officials are reminding parents of the importance of masks.

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At the Please Touch Museum, where safety reminders are posted everywhere, state and city health officials joined forces to highlight potential COVID risks and safety precautions for children who aren’t vaccinated.

“There’s still a risk of COVID-19 spread among children and the more people unvac children interact with and the longer the interaction, the higher the risk of that spread,” Acting Secretary of the Department of Human Services Meg Snead said.

Children under the age of 12 are at risk because a COVID vaccine is not yet approved for them. That’s why there is a big emphasis on getting more people who are eligible vaccinated.

“We as Pennsylvanians have the power to end the pandemic and to get our kids out enjoying activities this summer and moving forward,” Pennsylvania Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson.

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Until vaccination rates are higher, the CDC guidance says unvaccinated children should wear masks in crowded locations inside and outside.

“So it depends on the degree of crowding, it depends on the kid, but overall if they’re close together as many children like to be in playgrounds, it’s better to have the mask on,” Philadelphia Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said.

Health officials say outside interactions are safer with less risk of transmission, but indoors in public locations, everyone who isn’t vaccinated is advised to wear a mask.

Beyond physical safety, child advocates say it’s also important to take care of their mental health.

“We need to help them begin to process the experience of extended social isolation and distancing and virtual learning while they begin to explore how to positively re-engage in the world around them,” President of the Please Touch Museum Trish Wellenbach said.

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After being closed for more than a year, the Please Touch Museum is open again with a variety of limits on exhibits and crowds. They also have expanded cleaning and safety protocols.

Stephanie Stahl