How to Get Your Kid to Wear a Face Mask?

It’s a struggle to even keep clothes on a toddler—how are we supposed to keep a coronavirus mask on their face?

After weeks of recommending that face masks be reserved for use by members of the medical community, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently pivoted and announced that all Americans should wear cloth face coverings—and not surgical masks and N-95 respirators, which are still only recommended for health care workers—when venturing into public spaces where social distancing is difficult to maintain, like supermarkets, train stations, bus stops, and airports.

Since the announcement, the internet has been awash in DIY mask-making tutorials, but many parents have one major question: How the heck do I keep a mask on my toddler? Here’s what to know, plus tips from experts on getting everyone to cooperate.

Mask Recommendations for Children

According to recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), kid mask-wearing isn’t all or none, there’s some leeway. First, and most importantly, children under the age of 2 should not wear masks due to suffocation and choking hazards. Also, if proper social distancing protocols are followed—keeping children at least six feet from other people—masks are not necessary. Children with cognitive or respiratory impairments should not wear masks, and if they do, respiration should be monitored with a pulse oximeter when possible.

The AAP recommends masks for of-age kids who will be in public places where social distancing might not be possible, like doctor’s offices, public transit, and grocery stores, but best practice is to leave kids at home whenever possible.

What Masks Are Best for Kids?

Experts are recommending that people use homemade cloth face masks so as not to increase the demand for medical-grade masks that health care workers need. DIY tutorials for sew and no-sew mask options are readily available online and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams even posted a video showing an easy method using a T-shirt and two rubber bands.

The CDC recommends using two layers of tightly-woven material like high thread count sheets and a series of tests from Wake Forest Baptist Health found that an outer layer of 100 percent cotton combined with an inner layer of flannel “performed well” at blocking virus particles.

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