Wearing face masks in public is recommended by the CDC as a health measure to help slow the spread of coronavirus. When it comes to face masks for kids, there are certain protocols that must be followed in order to ensure that your children are safe.
Mask Protocol for Children
Children under the age of 2 shouldn’t have a mask on because of the risk of suffocation. If children under the age of 2 are having trouble breathing, it is too difficult for them to take the mask off themselves. If you do need to take your children out under the age of 2 and want to remain safe, place a blanket over the car seat cover to maintain airflow. Cotton face masks for kids with elastic straps behind the ear are recommended for children that are over this age limit. In instances when you are able to maintain social distancing in outdoor space, such as on a family bike ride or walk, then children don’t need to wear a mask but it’s always a good idea to bring one in case social distancing can’t be maintained. There are no N95 masks that are approved for young children. Children that have trouble breathing or are unable to remove the face masks on their own also shouldn’t be wearing masks.
Cleanliness and Fit
A cloth face mask should fit snugly over the chin and cheeks. While it can be fashioned from a bandana or cloth at home, sometimes buying one is much easier. It’s best to double the cotton cloth for added protection but you don’t need to add a filter. The mask should be able to withstand being washed after each wearing. To ensure the fit of the mask, lay it flat to dry instead of drying it in the dryer. You should wash your hands before and after you put the masks on and teach kids not to touch their face while wearing it.
Making Kids Comfortable Wearing a Mask
There are a number of ways to make your kids more comfortable wearing a face mask. Practice with your children at home before you go out in the public space. Tell your children they are superheroes and that by wearing a mask, they are doing their part to keep everyone healthy and safe. For some added motivation, put one on their favorite stuffed animal. Make sure that you model this behavior as well since your children are more likely to keep the mask on if you are also wearing one.
In addition to everyone wearing a face mask, including children, there are still other measures to slow the spread. This includes washing hands regularly, avoid touching the face, and practice staying at least six feet away from other people, especially while in indoor spaces.