Who should be wearing masks?
The CDC recommends that all persons over the age of 2 wear masks that cover both their nose and mouth in all public settings and when around persons who do not live in your household. This is especially important when we’re in any setting where maintaining 6 feet of social distancing is difficult. This is important because COVID-19 can be spread by people who don’t have any obvious symptoms, so they don’t know that they’re infected.
Masks should not be worn by anyone who is:
- Under the age of 2
- Actively having difficulty breathing
- Unable to remove their own mask without assistance
How does wearing a mask help prevent/protect against the spread of COVID-19?
Wearing a mask works as a simple, yet effective protective measure to help prevent droplets of COVID-19 from traveling into the air. COVID-19 droplets can be spread from coughing, sneezing, and even talking. Therefore, reducing the spread of these droplets by wearing protective masks will help control the spread of the virus.
How do I wear a mask correctly?
Why do we still have to wear a mask once we’re in the exam room at the doctor’s office?
We are trying our best to maintain social distancing and still provide our families with the care that they need during these difficult times, however a clinic setting is a place where maintaining a 6-foot distance is difficult. We value the health and safety of not only our patients, but our staff as well. By you and your children wearing masks throughout your visits here at Pediatrics Northwest, you are helping to protect us, just as we are helping to protect you.
How do you get a child to keep a mask on?
Children are resilient and quite adaptable, here are a few steps parents can take to help their child adjust to wearing a face covering over their nose and mouth:
1. Talk to your child about why masks are important
Simple phrases are best understood by children of all ages, but it’s also important to stay consistent with how you explain this to your child. Use phrases such as, “wearing a mask helps keep us safe and others around us safe” or “wearing a mask can help protect us and others from germs”.
2. Normalize face masks through play at home
Children learn through play, and this can also help them process their feelings and normalize wearing a mask. Play activities for certain ages differ, but a few great examples for toddlers and young children include: giving a mask to your child’s favorite stuffed animal, playing pretend and practicing wearing masks around the house, sewing or making masks together or drawing masks on characters in coloring books.
3. Ensure their mask fits properly and is comfortable
A well fitted mask can help reduce fidgeting. A cloth mask should fit over your child’s nose and mouth and be gently secured under the chin. There should be no gaps on the sides. Always check that your child can breathe easily when wearing the mask. When putting on your child’s mask, or when teaching your child how to put on their own mask, make sure you or your child always wash your hands first.
4. Provide fun and colorful mask options
Providing fun and colorful mask options or allowing your child to choose or make their own masks is a fun way to normalize mask wearing. If possible have a few different mask options for your child, so they can decide which they would like to wear for the day. This is not only fun, but also allows for independence and decision making, while preventing battles when asking them to put on a mask.
5. Have your child help enforce wearing masks in the home and in public
Giving children a job or responsibility can help them feel empowered and more in control of a situation. Designate your child as the family “mask monitor.” When leaving the house, have them check that everyone has their mask available. You can ask older siblings to help younger siblings by reminding them to wear their mask.
When wearing a mask it can also help to keep your child’s hands busy. For instance, if you are in a grocery store, ask your child to help you carry an item. This can help prevent them from touching their mask.
6. Practice wearing a mask
Whenever you introduce something new into your child’s environment, it can help to practice and slowly get them comfortable with the change. Before bringing your child out in public in a mask, practice putting on the mask and wearing it for short periods around your home. You can look in the mirror to explain how it should fit and start with just a few minutes.
7. Set the example: Be a role model and wear your own mask
One of the best ways to encourage your child to wear a face mask is to wear one yourself. Children are always watching and listening, and it’s easier for them to follow the rules you set for them if everyone is following those same rules. They will notice how you talk about face masks and how you react when wearing one – and they will follow your lead. Try to use positive language and reinforce why wearing a face mask is helpful for your family and for others in the community.