You may recognize the look on this cat’s face, one of dread, concern, and borderline terror. You may have seen a similar look on the look of a child when they were told to wear something to cover their face for an indefinite period of time… For many parents it was hard enough getting kids to eat balanced meals, clean their rooms, and refrain from injuring their siblings. Whether they’re playing on the playground or walking through the halls of their school from class to class, masks have become a temporary part of childhood. Parents have hopefully come to terms with their kids regarding the requirements of mask-wearing, distancing, and sanitation practices. Most parents would describe the perfect mask as the one that their child is willing to wear… but there is a little more to consider when selecting personal protective gear for the youngest members of the family:
There are generally five kinds of facial coverings these days available for kids: flat mask, cone-shaped, pleated, face shields, and turtle neck style. There are other considerations to include whether the mask has a pocket for inserting additional filters, whether the mask has side ventilation gaps or openings, and whether the mask has a nose guard to improve comfort and keep the mask in place. While education and conversation regarding all the changes and chaos is essential to success when navigating the efforts to keep our kids healthy, sometimes a change in equipment and strategy is necessary to reach success. Much of what should be prioritized is the fitting of the mask, and whether it stays on during active behavior. There can be significant differences in children between the ages of 3 to 10 in the size of their faces, nose spacing, and breathing behavior. Many masks have recently been developed that allow children to see each other’s faces and provide space for better breathing. PandemGear offers an assortment of designs and styles because one child’s favorite mask may be uncomfortable for another child of the same age and size.
2. Material & Ventilation:
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that children ages 2 and older should wear masks in group settings, especially school and daycare. Here is a link to the AAP’s latest clinical guidance related to returning to school, returning to sports, and more: https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/
The World Health Organization recently latest recommendations states that children ages 5 and under should not be required to wear masks while advising people to follow the guidelines established by their local authorities. The Center for Disease Control says the exception is anyone (of any age) who cannot easily remove their own mask or who is having trouble breathing. If you have any concerns about your child’s ability to wear a cloth mask safely, or you have specific considerations for choosing the best mask for your child, talk to their pediatrician. It’s essential for your child to practice wearing their mask before they need to.
A mask will prevent the spray of sneeze droplets from entering a classmate’s nasopharynx (especially if other kids are wearing masks as well). It can also help stop kids from biting their nails, picking (and eating) boogers, sucking their fingers, and other habits that might cause them to inadvertently spread contagion. Even if your child’s schooling is happening exclusively online, you should have child-size masks on hand for any time your kid is in a group setting or around people not in your household. Older kids, especially teenagers, may find that adult-size masks fit better with minor adjustment. You can also purchase customized masks from PandemGear or other providers.
3. Cleaning & Maintaining
While kids will undoubtedly drop masks and place them in less than sanitary places, most masks can be machine-washed or may have “handwash only” on the labels. Hot washing is not necessary, and it can shrink fabrics and hasten wear and tear over time. As for detergent, most experts recommend washing masks in fragrance-free detergent, because perfumes can irritate kids’ airways. Be careful placing the masks in the dryer, as it will greatly shorten the lifespan of the mask. Kids wearing masks to school should put on a clean mask “at least daily. It is also important to keep the masks dry when wearing them. If you see a mask labeled anti-bacterial, the benefits should not be interpreted as anti-viral (big difference). While these materials may be effective in preventing bacterial growth on the mask, but they won’t kill coronavirus. Washing masks with regular laundry detergent should be sufficiently effective at preventing bacteria from growing, as well as killing viruses on the mask. CDC has a guide to mask cleaning that is shown here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html
4. Healthy Mindsets
It is important to remind children that they need not live in fear or be afraid of people, that masks are a precaution used to keep them and others as healthy as possible during this season. Equally important, is to remind children that they should not share their masks with friends, use their masks for other purposes (kids can be extremely creative), and they should feel confident or open to telling you if they find a mask uncomfortably or experience any issues breathing. On the other side of the issue is maintaining trust and attention. Some child psychologists have discussed the impact of having only partial facial recognition, calling for clear masks or face shields for those who must continue communications with children, due in part to how children process emotions and tone: https://www.wpr.org/psychologist-calls-clear-masks-caregivers-aid-child-development. Children tend to read lips, to learn how to process sounds, words, and interpret expressions. Some experts note that the experience of wearing the mask can be isolating at first, as it may attach stigma or cause certain personality traits to become more noticeable. Accordingly, parents and instructors are encouraged to give children time to adjust and make additional efforts to engage, build trust, and incorporate levity into everyday situations: https://celebrityparentsmag.com/kids-health/children-wearing-face-masks-experience-psychological-effects-according-to-experts/
Here are a few examples of our kids MaskTs combos:
MaskTs Shirt Mask Combo for Kids
If you have questions or requests please email us at email@example.com.