Kids and Masks: advice on how to introduce the concept and the importance

Now with the governor's mask mandate, children over the age of nine have to wear masks.
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:36 PM EDT
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NORTH CENTRAL, W.Va (WDTV) - When it comes to masks, not everyone is a fan of the coverings, especially kids. Now with the governor's mandate and a new school year quickly approaching, pediatricians say parents need to find ways to explain this new transition and discuss the importance. 

Although it’s not required for children under the age of nine to wear a mask, it’s still suggested that those over the age of two should wear one if able. Children are more prone to touching their face and not taking precautions. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend children under the age of two to wear a mask.

"I think it's really important," pediatrician, Dr. Brian Policano said. "Kid's immune systems are not always as good as adults," he said. "So I think it's (wearing masks) something they should attempt."

In order to make that attempt, parents can go different ways about it. Dr. Eleni Kitsos, also a pediatrician, said children may be scared or feel uncomfortable wearing the masks, so finding a way to introduce the concept is key.

 "For younger children, you can try and place the mask over a stuffed animal to make it seem a little more fun," Kitsos said. She also mentioned designing masks, practicing wearing them at home or sharing drawings and pictures are other ways to get kids on board. For older children, she recommended just having a conversation with them in a way the will understand the severity of the virus and the effects it can have on them or other people if exposed.

Children who are infected with the virus often have mild illness or never have symptoms, according to Lifespan. They are still able to spread the virus, which is why it’s important they wear a mask. However overall, health officials highly recommend wearing a mask whether you’re a child or an adult.

"What we see in the hospitals is that people who work with COVID-19 positive cases everyday, they wear a mask," the executive director of Mon Health Department, Dr. Lee Smith said. "They're not contracting the disease, so we know that these barriers are protective," he said.

The CDC and Healthy Children share tips and information when it comes to mask wearing. Health officials also remind everyone to continue social distancing, washing hands frequently and taking other necessary precautions.

Copyright 2020 WDTV. All rights reserved.

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