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The monstrous issue of kids and face masks



Creative ways to help kids feel comfortable with their face masks

Helping kids feel comfortable with their face masks

This mask stuff is not easy. Especially with kids. Kids fidget and often put their fingers on their face or up their nose. Here we are asking them to wear masks that prevent them from doing what comes naturally to them. And not all the masks we buy for our kids are as great as those we buy for Halloween.

Who should wear a mask?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that children 2 and older wear face masks indoors or out anytime they can’t stay six feet or more away from others.

We have heard that younger children, those under 2 years of age and children with developmental delays may not be able to wear masks. Your children’s ability to remove the mask on their own determines whether they should be wearing masks.

So besides young children and those with disabilities, according to information from the Mayo Clinic, children should wear masks in public settings and especially in situations where they are indoors around other people or where maintaining physical distancing is difficult.

What kind of masks do children need?

Health experts say the cloth variety is generally all that’s necessary for children. Just remember that the fit matters. Pleated face masks with elastic are likely to work best for kids. Ear loops can be easier for young children than ties. A good fit happens when a cloth mask covers the nose and mouth and secures under the chin.

Three layers seems to be the sweet spot that does a good job of blocking most of the respiratory droplets we produce while also still allowing us to breathe through it. Three layers is also what is recommended by the World Health Organization.

Adult cloth face mask are usually 6x12 inches, and even a child-sized 5x10 inch mask may be too large for small children. Try to find the right size for your child's face and be sure to adjust it for a secure fit.

What if my child is scared of wearing a face mask?

It's understandable that children may be afraid of cloth face masks at first. Here are a few ideas to help make them seem less scary:

  • Look in the mirror with the face masks on and talk about it.
  • Put a cloth face mask on a favorite stuffed animal.
  • Decorate them so they're more personalized and fun.
  • Show your child pictures of other children wearing them.
  • Draw one on their favorite book character.
  • Practice wearing the face mask at home to help your child get used to it.
  • Set a good example for your child by responsibly wearing your mask.

For children under 3, it's best to answer their questions simply in language they understand. If they ask about why people are wearing cloth face masks, explain that sometimes people wear them when they are sick, and when they are all better, they stop wearing them.

For children over 3, try focusing on germs. Explain that germs are special to your own body. Some germs and good and some are bad. The bad ones can make you sick. Since we can't always tell which are good or bad, the cloth face masks help make sure you keep those germs away from your own body.

One of the biggest challenges with having children wear cloth face masks relates to them “feeling different" or stereotyping them as being sick. As more people wear these cloth face masks, children will get used to them and not feel singled out or strange about wearing them.

How to wash face coverings?

According to the CDC, you can include your mask with your regular laundry. Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the mask.

I personally wash my face mask by hand. I use a small bowl filled with hot water and Dawn washing soap. (After all, I have been told that Dawn dish detergent can save the world.) I let it soak and then rinse with cool water.

Some sites suggest using a small amount of bleach in a bowl, maybe 4-5 tablespoons in warm water. Soak for 5 minutes and rinse.

Every website I visited suggests drying your face masks in a high heat dryer until they are completely dry.

How often should I wash my facemasks?

In general, most sites suggest washing after each wearing. Some say you can do it after you wear the mask one or two times.   

I know that when I wear my mask, I get warm and many times begin to sweat. So, I wash them daily. I think it is a small price to pay for feeling safe.  

I must say, that like most things relative to Covid-19, not every article tells the same tale or offers the same information. So the way I am handling the information I find is to do what I feel is right for me and my family.

For more information visit:

https://www.healthychildren.org/

https://www.cdc.gov/

https://www.who.int/



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