Fort Worth, Texas,
10:19 AM

Who is that Masked Hero? Maybe, Your Friendly, Neighborhood Pediatrician

By Daron Aldridge

What makes a superhero? Could it be standing up for what is right…Fighting for those in need…Putting others before themselves? These traits don’t just belong to the heroes splashed across the pages of comic books. Those sound exactly like the valiant women and men on the frontlines of health care.

But it’s not just doctors and nurses who are being asked to don a mask to fight COVID-19. In comics, the heroes often wear a mask to protect their identity. At the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), now it’s time for us all to put on a mask. We aren’t just protecting ourselves, but our family, friends and maybe even a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

As the sight of more and more people donning masks becomes the norm, some young children might be anxious or even scared about seeing this. Medical Director for Cook Children’s Urgent Care Kara Starnes, D.O., wanted to do something to make it a little less scary and more relatable for children.

Dr. Starnes says, “Many young children don’t quite understand what is happening in the world right now but what they definitely do understand and can relate to is doing something fun. As a mom, I instantly thought about my three boys’ love of superheroes. Since superheroes wear masks, this is a chance for our patients to play the part of a superhero when arriving at Cook Children’s by wearing a mask.”

Drawing upon her hidden superpower, Dr. Starnes put pen and marker to paper and brought to life a team of Cook Children’s superheroes that are poised and dressed to fight this fight.

She explains, “Since I truly love drawing, creating these illustrations made me remember it is important for all of us all to take time to do something we enjoy. It relieves your worries during this incredibly stressful time and I am grateful that this gave me that opportunity.”

Hopefully this fun, creative outlet for Dr. Starnes can help the children in your life to embrace their inner superhero and be excited to do their part in protecting others.

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.

For more on this topic:

All Children Ages 2 years and Older Should Wear Cloth Masks

How to make an effective sewn face mask with pocket

Get to know Kara Starnes, D.O.

Dr. Starnes is the medical director of Urgent Care Services at Cook Children's. When a fever strikes or an ankle gets sprained after hours or on the weekend, Cook Children's urgent care centers are here to help. At Cook Children's urgent care centers, you can get things like X-rays, stitches, and care for illnesses that aren't life-threatening but need medical attention the same day.

Cook Children's has Urgent Care Centers in Alliance, Fort Worth, Hurst, Mansfield and Southlake. Click to find an Urgent Care Center near you.


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