Should Kids Wear A Cloth Face Mask?
Official health guidelines concerning COVID-19 are changing at a rapid pace. Just a few weeks ago, the CDC recommended that Americans not wear a face mask. Still, after last week’s recommendation, Americans are starting to wear a reusable face mask to the grocery store and other public places where social distancing may not be maintained.
As more adults started wearing a face mask to protect themselves and slow the spread of the coronavirus, the question arose if children should wear a face mask.
Wearing a cloth face covering CORRECTLY can help prevent the spread of #COVID19 to others. When you go out on essential trips, follow these “do’s”. If you have a child, remember those under age 2 should not wear a face covering. See https://t.co/lxWMe4NUBD. pic.twitter.com/0mUIoeA9aS
— CDC (@CDCgov) April 9, 2020
While there are lots of variables to consider, the short answer is yes- children should wear a face mask when going out into public. While children are less likely to become ill, the CDC recommends that children two years and older wear a facial mask to “help stop the spread of the coronavirus.”
Similar to adult masks, CDC guidelines show that children face masks should be made out of simple cloth and fashioned with household materials. There are several research findings that show masks can be outfitted with additional filtration systems to improve the effectiveness of the masks.
Why Should Children Wear Masks?
Several health professionals have come forward to promote the habit of children wearing masks in public places. The main reason for this practice is that children are more likely to be asymptomatic carriers of the virus.
In addition, kids tend to touch more surfaces, interact with other children through touch, and engage with their environment in more risky behavior (like licking surfaces) than adults typically conduct themselves.
Coronavirus face covering “do’s” as you get ready to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or to your doctor’s office: Do make sure you can breathe through it. Do wear it whenever going out in public. Do make sure it covers your nose and mouth and do wash after each use. pic.twitter.com/F0bVHK5MpT
— CDC (@CDCgov) April 7, 2020
While young children and toddlers should wear a face mask, it’s important to remember that children under two years old should not wear a mask. This is because young toddlers and babies have smaller airways and breaching in a mask can be difficult for them.
The primary benefit of wearing a mask is to prevent the spread of the virus. While a mask can protect you from direct spray, masks non-surgical masks are not designed to protect people wearing the mask from contracting the coronavirus.
Due to the habits and tendencies of children to spread the disease, they are the perfect candidates to wear a mask in public areas where social distancing won’t be maintained.
Tips To Get Your Kids To Wear A Mask
While the CDC recommends that children over the age of 2 wear a face mask in public areas, it can be a whole different story to get the child to keep the mask on. Not only can the mask be uncomfortable, but many children also get too excited to keep the mask on their face.
One way to help your child keep on the mask is to use decorative fabrics that your kid likes. Making the mask cool and fashionable could give your child the added push to keep the mask on for extended periods.
Another way that you can encourage your child to wear a mask in public is to model the behavior whenever possible. You and other adults should wear a face mask in public areas, so your child sees this positive behavior.
You can also tell your child that you don’t like wearing the mask, but you do it because it’s the right thing to do. This approach to positive reinforcement shows the child that they should wear the mask in public even if they don’t want to, and your actions can showcase positive social behavior.
If your teen is leaving the house, then you should definitely give them a mask. Studies show that this age group will see the most positive effects of wearing a mask in public areas.
Help Keep Your Whole Family Safe
The best way to keep your family healthy during this pandemic is to remain in your house, stay at least six feet from other people, and frequently wash your hands.
However, when social distancing can’t be maintained, your best bet is to wear a mask in public areas. A cloth mask can help reduce the spread of germs by preventing asymptomatic people from unknowingly spread the virus, and the mask is a physical barrier that can reduce your exposure to airborne water droplets carrying the virus.
You and other adult family members should all wear masks, and it is essential that your children also wear masks to help prevent the spread of the virus. Encourage your children to wear the mask in public, and model this positive behavior.
Together, your family can help fight the coronavirus spread and bring us one step closer to eradicating this pandemic once and for all!