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Tips To Help Young Kids Wear Masks

The next time you visit Cook Children’s, you will notice some differences throughout the entire system. One of those changes will require visitors to wear cloth masks, with only our youngest patients being the exception.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that starting at the age of 2 years old, kids wear masks to protect them from COVID-19. For those under the age of 2 years old, it isn’t recommended.

“Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children younger than 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance,” the CDC writes.

Vida Amin, M.D., medical director of the Cook Children’s Neighborhood Clinics, warns against placing masks on young children because a tight fit could cause difficulty breathing. Plus, most babies and young toddlers are going to work to get the masks off and could cause scratches to their face or eyes.

“I would instruct parents of younger children to be mindful of keeping their children close to themselves, and safely away from others,” Dr. Amin said. “Because young children under 2 years old shouldn’t be wearing masks, it’s extremely important to practice social and physical distancing and adhere to handwashing in this age group.”

Dr. Amin suggests parents of infants or younger toddlers could loosely drape a blanket over the car seat when they bring them into Cook Children’s to protect them.

Other than children under 2, the rest of us are asked to wear cloth masks. It’s important to stress we all wear cloth masks because our medical community needs all surgical masks, especially N95 masks.

The move to wearing masks can be a difficult adjustment for all of us, but especially for kids. The Child Life specialists offers the following tips to help you succeed.

Tips for Getting Young Kids to Wear Face Masks:

  • Model It! Make it familiar by wearing a mask too.
  • While wearing masks, look in the mirror and talk about it with them.
  • Play! Put a mask on their favorite stuffed animal.
  • Decorate the mask by coloring it or using stickers.
  • Look at pictures of other kids wearing masks.
  • Draw masks onto pictures of their favorite characters: superheroes, cartoon characters, athletes, toys …
  • Use positive reinforcement when they wear a mask. Use praise or small rewards.
  • Be patient. Young children are looking for ways to be independent and may not want to leave their mask on.

How to make an effective sewn face mask with pocket

Thank you for standing with us to help protect our health care heroes and yourselves. We appreciate all mask donations you have the time to aid us with. Your help in protecting our staff and patient families is critical and appreciated. Click here to learn more.

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