When COVID-19 hit a year ago, nobody was prepared. We all scrambled to find a vaccine and solutions in the meantime to help decrease the spread of the disease. Besides staying socially distanced, the CDC recommended that everyone wear facial covering. After debates over whether a face shield was truly a face covering, people adopted wearing a cloth mask into a normal day.
Why wear face masks?
In the beginning, wearing a face mask was uncomfortable and weird. We weren’t used to wearing a face mask every minute of the day, but it is important that we do so. It is possible to have COVID-19 but not experience any symptoms. Wearing a face mask can prevent spreading this disease to other people who will experience symptoms.
Should your child wear a mask? Simply, if your child is unvaccinated AND older than 2 years, then yes. Your child (or you) is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after getting the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. If your child is under 2 years old, then they should not wear a mask because of suffocation risk.
When does your child need to wear their face mask?
Since going back to in-person school, wearing a mask is very important. Schools have been known as a hotspot for diseases like the cold or flu to spread rapidly, and no one wants that to happen with COVID-19. Make sure your child wears their masks properly when going to and leaving school. The teachers will help make sure your child keeps their mask on throughout the school day.
- Child Care
This is the same thing as a school environment. Lots of kids go to child care, and it’s a place where COVID-19 can spread rapidly.
- Group Activities
These can be anywhere from a school field trip to playing with neighborhood friends. No matter what the occasion is, if there’s a group of people, make sure your child is wearing their mask.
- Grocery Store
One asymptomatic person not wearing their mask can lead to an outbreak of the disease. No matter if your child is asymptomatic or not, make sure they’re wearing their masks while grocery shopping with you.
Just like schools and child care centers, camps have a lot of children and adults running around. Make sure your child is wearing their mask during these moments as well.
This one is the worst when wearing a mask because of the amount of time you need to wear the mask. Whether you’re taking a bus, train, or airplane, masks need to be worn at all times. Sanitation workers clean the areas regularly, but you still need to be vigilant and aware of not adding to the germs. It only takes one person to cause an outbreak.
What if your child doesn’t like wearing a mask?
Some kids aren’t used to wearing a mask and tend to not want to, and that’s okay. Some children adapt well to new changes and others do not. You can help your child get used to wearing a mask by simply talking about the its importance. If that isn’t working, put a mask on their favorite stuffed animal or make their mask more personalized and fun to wear. They’ll eventually get used to wearing one.
If worse comes to worse and your child is stubborn and unwilling to wear a mask, the best thing you can do is make sure they’re socially distanced. Make sure they either stay inside your house or at least six feet away from everyone else. In most cases, the inability to play with their friends will encourage them to wear a mask.
For children with medical conditions that affect their lung function and are unable to wear a mask, other special precautions may be needed. Talk to your doctor about what needs to happen.
What is the proper way to wear a mask?
While your child is wearing a mask, make sure the mask covers both their nose and mouth. Also make sure that they’re not touching it, and if they do, make sure they wash their hands afterward.