When the pandemic first started, mask implementation was our number one defense against Covid-19. However, in August of 2021, the new Pfizer vaccine was approved by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration). This means that those that are not vaccinated, can now get the vaccination without any doubt of its effectiveness. Unfortunately, children 12 and under are not approved to receive the vaccine. With that said, mask implementation in children is critical and should encouraged by adults.
Transparency With Your Child
Adults need to keep in mind that children do not fully understand the virus and its effects on the world. They do not know why they must wear a mask and cover up their face. One of the best ways we can ensure our children are safe is by fully explaining what Covid is and why it is essential to wear the mask. Children view the world differently than adults do. Anything that causes them discomfort or prevents them from doing regular daily tasks like talking will make it even more challenging to enforce the masks. Helping a child understand why something is being done, encourages them to do what they are supposed to do.
Consistency and Setting Good Examples
Another way that adults can encourage their children to wear masks is to be consistent. When a person of any age creates a new habit, like wearing a mask, it is not ingrained in their minds just yet. It is easy to forget to wear it in public places, and even the importance of wearing it can be overlooked. Adults should always follow the proper guidelines for wearing a mask and make sure their child is also following guidelines. We need to remember that children watch everything we do as adults. If you tell a child that wearing a mask is essential, but you do not wear one, it will only confuse them. Be consistent in encouraging your children to wear their masks and be a good role model for them, as well.
Guidelines for Choosing a Mask
Choosing a mask for your child is practically the same as choosing a mask for yourself. The only difference between an adult mask and a child’s mask is the size. The size of your child’s mask is significant. Keep in mind that if a mask does not fit properly to your face or your child’s, you can still be exposed to Covid-19. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) supplied these guidelines for mask implementation in children:
- Choose a mask that fits snuggly to your child’s face but is not too tight. If a mask is too tight, it can affect the ability of your child to breathe. Keep in mind that if a mask is too tight or too loose, the child may be even more uncomfortable and less likely to wear it properly.
- If a mask fits too loosely on your child, it is unsafe to wear. When a mask fits loosely, respiratory droplets can still enter and infect your child.
- Choosing a mask that has a wire insert in the nose part of the mask is recommended. The wire insert can be altered and bent to fit the face shape of your child. The possibility to adjust the mask ensures even more protection against the virus.
- When choosing a mask, make sure the fabric is breathable and does not hinder breathing. Fabric masks should be constructed of two or more layers to ensure that no infection can enter.
- Children need to refrain from touching their face and their masks. And if they do touch their face or mask, they need to wash and sanitize their hands after.
- Children should be taught the proper way to wash and sanitize their hands.
- Children should also be instructed not to trade masks with other children.
Mask implementation plays an integral part in reducing the transmission of Covid-19. As of September 9th, a new record was set when the number of children who tested positive for Covid-19 increased to five million. Children’s primary defense against the virus is that their parents and other adults are teaching them the correct guidelines to follow. Not only do children need to be educated, but they need to be reminded as well. As adults, we need to supply easily accessible areas for washing hands and sanitizing. If the process for children to follow the correct guidelines is too tricky, they are more likely not to do what is asked. Creating an encouraging, transparent, and easy-to-follow is the key to ensuring that children follow the proper guidelines and remain safe.