Many parents are wondering which face masks they should purchase for their children to keep them safe from the ongoing pandemic.
Wearing a mask is a vital safety measure in schools for children of all ages, but it’s especially crucial for those who can’t get a COVID vaccine because they are too young.
A recent study analyzed 100 school districts and 14 charter schools from North Carolina and discovered that masks were efficient at preventing in-school COVID-19 transmission, even when the physical distance was limited to under three feet.
A number of experts were questioned by parents regarding the type of masks their children should be wearing.
These are the top tips they’ve been presented:
Packing An Extra Mask
Kids tend to be particularly messy, so it is wise to pack an extra mask in the backpack of your child as one day they might lose the main one or get it dirty or sweaty, according to Tina Tan, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
According to her, that is one of the reasons why parents should consider using cloth masks instead of disposable ones for their children.
“If the mask gets a little bit wet and it’s very uncomfortable, they could go through two or three [masks] a day, so it could get more costly. […] whereas with the cloth mask, if you buy a couple of them, you could wash them in between,” she said.
Comfort Is Important
Masks are highly efficient, but under one key condition – Your child must actually wear them.
Parents often find it hard to pick a mask that fits their children comfortably. An uncomfortable mask would make the child fiddle with it all day, according to Ibukun Kalu, an infectious disease pediatrician at Duke University.
She advised trying multiple masks until you find the best one but also avoiding those equipped with an exhaust valve, concluding that a three-layer mask is a very convenient option if available.
Avoid Neck Gaiters
Many parents and children opt for using neck gaiters because they’re very comfortable, as they’re easy to pull up and down. Plus, there are no ear loops to fiddle with.
Yvonne Maldonado, a pediatrics and infectious disease specialist at the Stanford University, stated that she would place gaiters at the bottom of the list of choices.
“They might look kind of cute for some people, but they really aren’t doing too much because they stretch so much and the fabric is really porous. Everything can just come right through,” she said.
Practicing At Home
Children can be particularly receptive and rapidly learn to wear masks adequately, which would make them particularly efficient.
Kalu actually expressed his amazement at the sight of the good compliance of many children.
However, not all children know how to properly wear their masks, so it’s vital that they have somebody to give them an example.
When it comes to learning by example, children typically adapt and learn most quickly from their parents. Therefore, it’s your duty to make sure that your child is properly masking up.
Double Masking Or Extra Filters
Did you find a mask that is comfortable enough for your child? Great, now you have to add an extra filter, according to Linsey Marr, a researcher of Virginia Tech who analyzes how viruses transmit in the air.
Numerous masks are sold with a built-in filter layer. If you see a pocket in your child’s cloth mask, know that it’s meant for a filter.
Marr suggested filling it with a high-quality surgical mask, as they are mostly made out of materials that are particularly efficient at filtering out particles.
KN95s For Kids?
Though kid-size KN95 masks are available, they may be a bit too excessive, according to Tan. Also, they are uncomfortable for long-term use, which could make children want to take them off, defeating their purpose altogether.
Many experts agree that KN95 masks aren’t needed, but if you want your child to wear them out of fear or to be extra protective, there’s no reason not to do so.
However, make sure that the mask you pick is adequate for your kids and comfortable.