With mask mandates in place in a lot of communities throughout the state, parents may need a little help in getting kids to jump on board. It may take a little work but with these tips and tricks, your child should be ready to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
First, talk to your kids in simple terms about why people are wearing masks. Tell them that it’s important for everyone, not just adults and sick people, to wear masks because they help protect us and those around us. Many people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning they have the illness without showing symptoms. Explain that wearing a mask is an act of kindness because it helps prevent COVID-19 from being unknowingly spread to and from other people. Masks do this by stopping the spread of respiratory droplets that we inadvertently spray when we cough and sneeze but also even when we talk.
Parents, you can try a little experiment. Try to blow out a lit candle with a mask on. Not being able to blow out a candle with a mask on shows how you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by demonstrating how droplets are stopped by the mask. Note: if you can blow it out, you should look for a different mask.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), kids under the age of 2 shouldn’t wear masks due to suffocation and choking hazards. Also, parents of kids with cognitive or respiratory impairments should exercise caution with masks for their children — if you have any questions or concerns about whether your child is healthy enough to wear a mask, it's best to reach out to their primary care physician. Masks don’t have to be worn all the time, for example when you’re at home or outside where you can be at least 6 feet away from others. For kids 2 and older, masks should be worn in public where social distancing isn’t always possible, such as at the grocery store, doctor’s office and public transit. But, whenever possible, leave kids at home.
We’ve all heard that N95 masks are the best. N95 masks should be saved for the health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle and those who are immunocompromised. For the rest of us who aren’t facing daily exposure to COVID-19 or another life-threatening illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) recommends using two layers of tight-woven material for masks that are good at blocking virus particles, for example an external layer of high thread count sheets and an internal layer of flannel. Bonus! They are washable and reusable. Click here to learn how to make a mask at home.
Children’s Wisconsin encourages all patient families and visitors to bring masks whenever visiting one of our locations. The masks should be worn the entire time you are in the hospital or clinic — put it on before entering the building and take it off after leaving. If you do not have a mask, we will provide you with one. Keep in mind our supply of masks is limited — Children’s Wisconsin may not be able to replace lost or misplaced masks, so please keep track of the one provided to you.
When you visit Children’s Wisconsin hospital or clinics, all employees will be wearing a mask. It’s important for your safety and the safety of the staff and doctors.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Children’s Wisconsin strongly urges everyone to refrain from gathering in large groups, especially indoors, and to wear a mask whenever out in public and proper social distancing is not possible. Make sure you are still washing hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
As always. if you have any questions, about COVID-19 or your child's health in general, please reach out to your child's pediatrician.