Help your child be a hero by wearing a mask.
Parents of young children know the struggles of getting their children dressed. The CDC recently added one more thing to think about – a face mask.
Children two years and older, and their parents, should wear a cloth face mask when they are in public, according to recent guidelines from the CDC. This is one additional way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, especially when going somewhere where social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as a grocery store or doctor’s office. The cloth mask holds in the respiratory droplets that might otherwise spread and contaminate others.
But it’s important to note that masks are not for children under two, and definitely not for babies, due to their smaller airways and the risk of suffocation. Instead, cover the infant’s carrier with a light blanket while in public, but remove it while in the car when the child can’t be monitored. In addition, any child that is ill should stay at home, and any child that could not remove a mask on their own should not wear one.
The mask should be cloth and fit over the child’s nose and mouth while still allowing them to breathe comfortably. An adult-sized mask (about 6 by 12 inches) is too big for small children, so it’s important to get the right size and type. Save surgical masks and N-95 respirators for health care workers.
Having control over the look of the mask your child wears might help convince him or her to wear it. Children could help make or decorate their mask using fabric that they like. Experts also say that children are more likely to do something that keeps others safe vs. themselves, so explain how the mask keeps the germs away from people who could get sick. And parents should model the behavior, wearing a mask when their child wears one.
If your child is afraid of the mask, start slowly by putting a mask on a stuffed animal or drawing masks on characters in coloring books and by practicing first at home.
She spoke with a local doctor and nurse who say not to put a face mask on a child who is 2- years old or younger. Health professionals with BJC healthcare say they are seeing this happening and have discovered people selling homemade masks for infants and toddlers online.