Should Kids Wear Face Masks? Here’s What Parents Need to Know

Are you wondering if kids should wear face masks? Professionals say they should — and offer these tips for parents to help make it less scary for younger kids.

Some kids associate the use of face masks with doctors, nurses and medical professionals.

Others know that people in manufacturing wear face masks all the time. What they’re not used to is seeing everyone on the street wearing them while walking around, grocery shopping or going to the park.

Under the revised and extended stay-at-home order, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer included a requirement for Michigan residents to wear a face covering when they are in public spaces, as long as they are medically able. It also requires businesses that are re-opening to provide their employees with non-medical grade face masks.

For kids – especially little kids – putting on a mask or face covering can be intimidating, odd or downright scary. It can also be scary to see people around them in masks.

Parents can remember to try to make a game of it and stay calm inside their own masks to help alleviate fears.

So, should kids where face masks?

Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago has guidelines for families to remember about masking kids. Some highlights include:

  • Remind kids that it’s important to keep the mask on, even when talking, coughing or sneezing.
  • To avoid suffocation, children under age 2 should not wear a mask.
  • Praise kids for keeping their masks on and for practicing social distancing.
  • Kids with asthma, diabetes, heart diseases, chronic illnesses and that are immunosuppressed should stay home and use masks for every doctors’ visit.
  • Remind kids not to touch the outside of their masks or their faces.
  • Try to use pediatric-sized masks for best protection.

Use this tutorial from the Stitching Scientist for kid-sized masks or this one from Cricut for a no-sew version (if you don’t think your child will keep elastic on, substitute with old shoelaces to tie around the head). Try to pick a pattern that will be attractive and fun for your child (Mickey Mouse, super heroes or unicorns).

If you or a friend have a Cricut cutting machine, you can create an iron-on transfer to add pizzazz to a solid color. Let older kids help in making the craft so that they have ownership over the masks that they use.

Remember to wash masks after each use, or dispose of one-time-use masks and gloves in trash cans, not public parking lots.

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