Before Covid 19 wreaked havoc on the world, many countries wore face masks for protection. In Japan, people treated it as a sign of respect to those around them, especially if they felt a little under the weather. More than protecting themselves, it ensures other people don’t catch what they have.  

Kids And Face Masks: What Parents Need To Know

Now, many countries are easing into mask-wearing protocols. Most schools worldwide are returning to face-to-face classes; some kids are required to wear face masks for protection. Some parents are still hesitant about having their kids wear masks all day in school. So, experts explained that if kids have trouble breathing, a cloth face mask will be sufficient to protect them. 

If you have children going back to school or if your country still mandates mask-wearing, there are some essential things you need to know about kids and face masks.   

Kindergarten kids wearing masks in a classroom

What If My Child Is Hesitant To Wear A Mask? 

The key to convincing your child to wear a face mask lies with you. If they see you have a cheerful disposition about it, they’ll be more than likely to follow suit.   

Also, kids will be more inclined to wear a mask with fun designs. A face mask printed with their favorite character or superhero or one in their favorite color can make kids happily put it on.  

Lastly, let them know what’s in it for them. Kids like to know why they need to do certain things. If you explain it well, they will understand and comply.  

Teach Them How To Wear A Mask Properly 

A mask will be useless if not worn correctly. If your kids are already in school, you won’t be able to monitor their actions. So, knowing they know how to wear a mask properly will be a relief. Teach your kids these steps: 

  • Wash your hands before touching your mask. 
  • In putting the mask on, hold the two loops and hook them onto your ear. 
  • Ensure the bottom part is tucked under the chin and the top covers the nose. 
  • Make sure the sides are tapered so that nothing comes through. 
  • In removing the mask, again, use the loops. 

Hopefully, these steps above can help your kids wear masks correctly for their protection.  

Who Is Exempted From Wearing A Mask? 

Children under two aren’t required to wear a face mask. The same goes for kids who have respiratory and cognitive impairments. Children with limited mobility functions, those who will have difficulty taking them off, are also not required to wear a face mask.  

The Risk Of Hypercapnia 

Some parents are wary of their kids wearing a mask for an extended period because of the risk of hypercapnia. Hypercapnia is the build-up of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream.  

There’s false information going around that when wearing a mask, the carbon dioxide you exhale gets trapped and goes back to the body as you inhale. It gathers in the bloodstream to inflame your airways and cause serious problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention debunked this misinformation in the United States and concluded that masks are safe. 

Other Myths Associated With Wearing Masks 

Experts have reiterated that there are no risks to wearing masks. Still, some people would spread misinformation to create panic. To set things straight, here are some myths about mask-wearing in children that were already debunked: 

  • Masks make it hard for kids to breathe, resulting in hypoxemia. Not true. Masks are made from breathable materials and will not affect the child’s breathing and access to oxygen. Even when worn for extended periods, masks will not lead to low blood oxygen levels.  
  • Masks will interfere with a child’s lung development. Not true. Oxygen flows through and around the mask, preventing droplets and particles from getting in or out. It promotes healthy lungs by keeping kids away from infection-causing substances in the air. 
  • Masks can lead to a weaker immune system by putting the body under stress. Not true. Masks can even protect you from acquiring disease if appropriately used. The key to preventing stress while wearing a mask is to ensure it fits snugly and comfortably.  

These are some of the myths surrounding face masks that need to be corrected. 

Wrapping It Up 

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. The new normal is a world where everybody wears masks, kids and adults alike, to prevent contracting diseases and to spread them around.    

Just know how to convince your kids and use fun ways to get them to wear masks. Teaching kids how to use masks properly for protection is also important. Finally, separating the myths from facts is essential in collecting information about kids and face masks,

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