By Kathryn Wright, MD, FAAP
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the use of cloth face masks outside of the home, including children 2 years and older and in Harris County a mask is advised for children 10 and older. Data shows that kids can be asymptomatic carriers for the coronavirus (COVID-19), meaning they’re infected but not experiencing symptoms and may be unknowingly infecting others. By wearing a mask in public, children can help slow the spread of this highly contagious virus.
The following tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics offer helpful information about the use of face masks for children, including how to help ease their fears about wearing one:
• Homemade or purchased cloth masks are suitable and pleated masks with elastic are likely to work best for children.
• For a child, the right fit is important. Try find the right size for your child’s face and be sure to adjust it for a secure fit.
• The CDC does NOT recommend masks for children under the age of 2.
• If your child is scared about wearing a mask, put a mask on his or her favorite stuffed animal, decorate a mask so it’s more fun, show your child pictures of other children wearing masks, have your child practice wearing a mask at home first, and you should put on a mask, too.
• An important way to reassure children is to emphasize how you’re taking steps to stay safe. Children feel empowered and less afraid when they know what do to keep themselves safe.
• For a mask to be safest and most protective, they should securely cover the nose and mouth and stretch from one ear to the other.
• Masks should not be touched when on and hand washing should be done before putting one on and after the mask is removed. Remove the mask from behind without touching the front of the mask. Wash masks after each wearing.
For more information, read Masks and Children During COVID-19 and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Helping Kids Get Used to Masks.
Remember that masks are not a replacement for social distancing or hand-washing and children shouldn’t sleep with a mask on.
Get Sew and No Sew instructions for making masks.
Kelsey-Seybold pediatricians and Family Medicine providers are helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 by caring for children through same-day Virtual Health visits. Moms and Dads can schedule VIDEO and E-Visits for their kids. Get the care your child needs without leaving home. Learn more.
Dr. Kathryn Wright is a board-certified pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold’s Kingwood Clinic. Child obesity, newborn care, and ADHD are among her top clinical interests. Being around kids makes every day at work fun for her.