In the last year, using masks has become a daily requirement in many states when you venture out in public. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all children ages two and older should wear a mask to help prevent contracting and spreading COVID-19.
Children and COVID-19
Despite misconceptions that COVID-19 only severely affects the elderly or immunocompromised, children are also at risk of developing complications from the virus. While all babies and children can become infected and spread the virus to others, the CDC notes that babies less than one-year-old and kids with underlying conditions are at a higher risk of developing a severe case.
Like adults, children with the virus can appear asymptomatic but still transmit to others, which is one of the primary reasons why masking in kids who are old enough to wear one is essential.
There have been cases of an inflammatory condition called MIS-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome) in kids who have been infected with COVID-19. Conditions like asthma, diabetes, obesity, or a weakened immune system can also put your child at a higher risk of complications. The ideal scenario is to prevent kids from becoming infected, and masking is a great tool to help them feel safe.
What Kind of Mask Should a Child Wear?
The CDC suggests that anyone under the age of 60 with no underlying medical conditions can wear cloth face coverings rather than medical-grade masks. If your child has a condition that puts them at an increased risk of complications from COVID-19, consider purchasing a box of 3-ply surgical or disposable kids face masks, which people wear across the US with much success.
Teach Your Child Proper Masking Etiquette
Children over the age of two should wear a kids face masks in public settings like a grocery store, school, or shopping mall for their protection and the safety of others. When you’re with your child, you can help them with their mask, but if they’re at school or daycare, they will need to learn how to handle this themselves. For mask-wearing to be effective, children need to understand how to put the mask on properly and take it off.
Young children may also wear kids face masks incorrectly without guidance, rendering it ineffective. Make sure your child knows their mask should always cover their nose and mouth. When they put on their mask, they should use freshly cleaned hands and hold the mask by the ear loops.
When they remove the mask, they must ensure they don’t touch the part that covers their face. The mask should always be handled exclusively by the ear loops to prevent germs from their hands penetrating the mask.
Other Preventative Measures for Children
Besides masking, there are other measures your child should take as part of a comprehensive approach to stopping the spread of COVID-19. These include:
Practicing frequent handwashing
The CDC recommends teaching your child to wash their hands thoroughly for a minimum of 20 seconds, ensuring they are cleaning all surfaces of their hands. To make it easier for them to time the hand washing, you can teach them to scrub to the tune of “Happy Birthday.”
When it’s not possible to wash using soap and water, ensure your child is equipped with a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Children under the age of 6 should be supervised when using hand sanitizer, according to the CDC.
Disinfecting high-touch surfaces
To protect you, the kids, and high-risk members of your household, make sure you’re wiping down frequently touched surfaces once a day with an FDA-approved disinfectant wipe. This includes doorknobs, countertops, TV remotes, and shared computer keyboards.
If your child has a stuffed animal that they snuggle with frequently, it’s good practice to wash it at least once per week. Follow the directions on the label to keep the plush toy in the best condition possible.
Practicing social distancing
Even though your child should wear a mask, the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid close contact with anyone outside your household. This means limiting playdates to one other child or family, practicing safety measures, and taking advantage of outdoor activities rather than spending time indoors where ventilation is limited.
When kids are playing together outside, try to get them to respect physical distancing guidelines and stay six feet apart. If your child is back in school or daycare, avoid scheduling playdates with any children outside their classroom.
Protect Your Kids
While kids have not been at the center of the pandemic so far, that doesn’t mean they aren’t at risk of infection, illness, or spreading the virus to others. At ICU Production, all of our PPE is approved by the CDC and the FDA so you can feel confident that your kids are wearing the best possible protection.