Masks For Kids Under 2 Could Hinder Breathing, Face Shields May Be Safer

Guidelines for wearing masks differ around the world, especially for children.

Wearing masks can be uncomfortable for young children, and possibly even dangerous if they’re under 2 years old, says the Japan Pediatric Association.

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According to them, face masks and coverings can cause breathing difficulties for infants and children under 2.

That’s why they’re urging parents not to make them wear masks, reports Channel NewsAsia (CNA).

Face masks could hinder breathing

Parkway East Hospital in Singapore doesn’t recommend face masks for children under the age of 3.

On their website, they explained that the masks “increase resistance” when breathing and trap carbon dioxide as well.

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Since infants and young children have narrower nasal passageways, the masks may make breathing more difficult for them and could cause them to hyperventilate.

Not advised in Singapore or USA

While it’s mandatory for everyone to wear masks when heading out in Singapore, it’s not recommended for children aged 2-years-old and under, “for child safety reasons”, says Gov.sg on their mask advisory page.

Similarly in the US, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cloth face masks only for children above 2.

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According to the CDC, face masks for children should not pose a choking or suffocation hazard either.

In case of emergencies, the child should be able to remove the face mask by themselves too, wrote The LA Times.

Face shields might be a better option

With young preschool and daycare curriculum resuming soon, parents may worry about their children’s protection while keeping them comfortable.

Here in Singapore, face shields are deemed acceptable for kids. In fact, they will be distributed to all pre-school and primary school students before they head back on 2 Jun, reports The Straits Times (ST).

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These will serve as an alternative to face masks and might be more comfortable for the students.

After all, if they’re safe for newborn babies to wear, they should be alright for young children.

Educate your children to keep them safe

Kids can be quite a handful, and having to keep them safe during a global pandemic definitely doesn’t help things.

If possible, it’s best to educate them and explain the importance of mask-wearing and good hygiene to keep themselves safe.

LA Times recommends using simple terms and letting them ask questions. Establishing a routine with hygiene and mask-wearing helps too.

Help children get used to the new routine

Since the Covid-19 outbreak is likely not going to go away any time soon, you’ll probably need to continue wearing masks for at least a few more months.

Hence, it’s crucial that they get used to wearing them.

For more details on Singapore’s mask-wearing guidelines, check out gov.sg’s website here.

Masks might be uncomfortable, but should never cause breathing-related discomfort for kids.

Featured image adapted from TopMedDisposable and Facebook