Which model of mask to choose for children?
Written by Paul Musset, Doctor in Pharmacy | published on | updated on 22/02/2021
Due to the health crisis, our life has changed, mainly because of wearing masks. Since November 2, 2020, masks are obligatory for children 6 years onward and it is not necessarily easy to get them used to these. Discover our tips.
Wearing a mask, how is it useful for children?
Just like adults, children can be infected with Covid-19. Therefore, the mask is the right way to protect them.
Avoid spreading respiratory droplets.
When we speak, we release respiratory droplets. It’s the same thing when we cough, sing, or sneeze. However, these droplets can infect others if we are sick. The mask helps retain these.
Some people are infected, but show no signs, they are known to be asymptomatic. This can also be the case for children. Therefore, they need to wear a surgical mask for children or a washable mask in order to limit the risks.
School, a genuine breeding ground
Schools are hot spots for spreading. Many students are part of a class and tend to be physically close. If one of them is sick, there is a good chance he shall infect his peers. These in turn could then infect their families. After which, the virus spreads very easily. Wearing a mask prevents the creation of rather large clusters: protection of children, but also families.
The mask doesn’t absolve from barrier gestures
It is essential to explain to children that, even if they wear a mask, they must continue respecting the barrier gestures, which means washing their hands, covering their mouth with their elbow in the case of sneezing or coughing, or even distancing themselves physically.
The different types of masks that exist.
There are two main masks for children : in disposable paper, and washable cloth. Let's have a look at their features.
Disposable surgical masks
They are also available in the children's" format, in keeping with their smaller face size in order to properly cover the nose and mouth. These masks should be favored by those people who are at risk and need to be protected during a pandemic.
These models are washable and can be reused. They are more fun and ecological. You can sew them yourself or stitch them so that they fit perfectly. You can easily customize the masks to make your children want to wear them.
Support children in adopting the mask.
Depending on their age, they might have difficulty understanding the usefulness and the essential nature of a surgical or a washable mask. Therefore, it is important to help them through this transition.
Explain why to them.
Children should understand the importance of wearing a mask but mostly their usefulness. Explain to them that this will prevent from passing on the virus, it will protect them against external aggressions, but also protect the people around, especially at school, or the elderly like their grandparents.
Get them used to it.
While wearing a mask is unpleasant for adults, it is just as unpleasant, if not more for children who will have to get used to wearing these throughout the day. To help them, you can get them familiarized with this feeling at home. Make them wear a washable children's mask, or a surgical children's mask for a few hours at home every day to make school days seem shorter.
Set the example.
Kids love imitating their parents, so be beyond reproach when it comes to wearing masks. Wear these diligently during every trip and put it on correctly, so they can easily imitate you.
Moisturize the skin.
Wearing a mask can irritate the skin, especially the fragile skin of children, so don’t forget to moisturize their skin properly, with a nourishing cream. This will make it easier for them, because if their skin feels tight or itchy, they will have a harder time continuing to wear their mask.
Make masks attractive for children
At the age of 6, children may find it difficult to keep their mask on all day. To motivate them, you can choose a colorful model or one with the image of their favorite hero, this way they’ll be delighted, and will enjoy wearing them.
The right actions while wearing a mask.
There are several tips to keep in mind when it comes using a mask so that it’s efficient, whether the mask is disposable or washable.
Cloth masks, systematic washing
If you choose a washable children's mask, wash it at 60 degrees after every use. This will get rid of impurities, pollution, but also bacteria, germs, and viruses.
Cover the nose and mouth.
Just like with adults, children should position the mask so that it covers the nose and mouth. This is the only way the respiratory droplets will be preserved and not touch others. A poorly worn mask will be much less effective.
If you choose a surgical mask for your child, the latter will be disposable. Therefore, you need to put it in the trash after every use. Raise awareness with your child in terms of this gesture so that he does not leave masks lying around. These turn into germ nests after use.
Use the elastics to handle the mask.
To avoid spreading germs, bacteria, and viruses, use the mask through its rubber bands. Most of all, do not touch the surface with your hands, as it has definitely been in contact with potentially dirty surfaces. It is ideal to wash your hands before putting on your mask and after taking it off.
Choose the mask with the right size.
Given that children have a smaller face than adults, they need to wear masks of a size which suits their body type. Both in terms of surgical masks for children and washable masks for children, there are models which are specially designed for their morphology.
Confronted with Covid-19, everyone is part of the fight against the virus, this includes children. They need to now wear a mask at school from the age of 6, like grown-ups. This will protect them and their families.
The three key points to remember about the children's mask:
- Two options in terms of material: just like with adults, children can wear cloth, washable, or paper masks which are disposable;
- The mask doesn’t replace barrier gestures: It is essential to explain to children that they still need to wash their hands to keep the virus away;
- Explain properly: Children need to understand so that they can take on the right actions. Therefore, we need to explain how useful a mask is.