Children and coronavirus
Apparently, when getting infected coronavirus, children's symptoms are milder when compared to other risk groups. Globally, however, there is increasing evidence of positive cases in children.
Therefore, consideration is beginning to be given to strengthening protection and prevention measures for children with the aim of reducing the number of positive ones among them and protecting others who are vulnerable.
Situations such as going back to school require special attention and care to avoid risks. If we look at countries where the return to class has been a success, one of the keys may have been the good guidelines that have been implemented.
Among which is, as could not be otherwise, the use of face masks.
How can we protect children?
Some of the measures we can carry out are the following:
We can spend time explaining the situation to them, teaching them how to wash their hands well, telling them how to use masks correctly, and not forcing them to give unnecessary or undesired kisses or hugs to others (so we can reduce the number of contacts).
It is also good practice to avoid making unnecessary visits to family, friends or acquaintances with them and teach them to sneeze directly to the elbow or to carry disposable tissues when they are not wearing a mask.
From what age should children start wearing face masks?
The Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) discourages children under two years of age from wearing a mask because they may suffocate with it.
Between the ages of two and up to five wearing a mask is an optional measure, and in these cases, pediatricians do not recommend it if children can't breathe easily or if they can't take off the mask without help.
It is also not advisable for very young children to wear a mask if when going out to the street they will not touch possible contaminated surfaces such as slides, other toys, benches, street lamps, etc.
On the other hand, when they are over six years of age, in many countries it is mandatory that they always use it in enclosed spaces and in public transport. This also applies to open spaces when situations do not allow to respect the minimum safety distance of two meters.
If a child sneezes or has a cough, fever, diarrhea, or vomiting; if they have diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or cancer, or if they are taking immunosuppressive drugs or are immunosuppressed, they should be protected as well.
Finally, it is important to make sure they use it if at any time they will come into contact with people with chronic pathologies or older than 60 years who are not within their usual environment.
Difficulties children may find wearing a mask.
Children are often quite active and like to explore their surroundings and themselves. They look for information using a sense of touch to become familiar with everything that surrounds them: they touch other children, objects, themselves... etc.
Therefore, if we want them to use masks we have to make them understand the reasons and how they should make a correct and safe use of them.
How can we do that?
Let's start by educating them and giving them responsibilities, so that they know that they play a fundamental role that prevents transmission of the virus.
Because, if they feel that their actions are important, their commitment to follow the rules is going to be much greater.
The AEP gives us some ideas so that we can help those children who do not want to use them at first or who are afraid of masks:
“We can stand in front of a mirror, look at each other and talk about the mask, place it on one of your favorite soft toys, decorate them a little to make them more fun, show them that other kids wear it too or practice at home with them so they get used to it before going out on the street”
To explain why we use masks, it is best to use simple language that they can understand, we should explain how things work as often as necessary, as well as the reasons for their using a mask, and remind them constantly until they have fully assimilated the message.
In the case of children under the age of three, they can be told that some people use them when they are sick and others to avoid getting sick.
However, to children older than three years, we can tell that in each body there are germs. Some of them are good, some are bad, and that the bad ones can make us sick. And since we can't always know which ones are bad, we use masks to prevent them from entering our body.
It is also important to ensure that they do not feel forced to use them or punish them if they are removed or not used properly.
At first it can be a great effort to get children to use masks correctly, but as they become part of their daily routine, children end up getting used to not playing with them and using them when necessary following the instructions.
Safe use of masks
The misuse of the mask could be counterproductive and create more risks because the child could end up touching his face more to wear it properly.
To avoid this, it is important to find the size that is suitable for the child's face.
It is important to put the mask well over your nose and mouth by stretching it from one ear to the other. It should fit against the face comfortably while fastened with elastic bands or loops behind the ears.
The child should wash his hands before and after wearing it and, once put on the face, they should avoid touching the front part.
Finally, it is important to note that the mask must always be put on and removed by holding it and washing it according to the instructions.
Masks for children
The best type of mask for healthy children are the hygienic or washable ones.
But in case of symptoms such as fever, cough, sneezing, vomiting, or diarrhea, many pediatricians recommend using a FFP2 or N95 type.
If you're looking for children's masks, you might find what you need here.
These are some of the brands that have designed masks with little ones in mind.
A brand with original designs and high quality materials that manufactures masks for children and adults. The fabric is waterproof, antibacterial, breathable and quick-drying. They are hand and machine washable and with high filtration efficiency.
The fabric is certified organic cotton, the masks have double layer, with optional pocket to put the filter and the models for children with illustrations, prints or plain designs.
This brand has designed children's face masks that can be customized with prints. They are made of cotton and polyester, with a fabric that protects like the FFP2 and have filter pocket.
It has masks for children with sizes according to age. They are made of double layer cotton and filter. For each mask sold, the brand donates one to families with special needs.
They have models with valve but all are manufactured with two protective layers of fabric and with filter. Washable at 40 and 60 degrees.
He adopted this phrase that became popular in the networks to claim the use of masks for children and adults. They are made with double layer and filter and in the children's collection there are three sizes available.
Cosir i Cantar
They offer adult and child face masks (3-12 years old), one size fits all, made with double layer of cotton poplin (water repellent and breathable) and with filter compartment, washable at 60 degrees.
This brand for babies also produces masks for children between 2 and 8 years old. They use triple layer of fabric: two cotton and the interior made of TNT (high strength). They are washable and reusable.
Even if we educate children on their use, it is important that an adult always monitors the child and teach them how to put on, use and remove their mask.
The person responsible for the child must also ensure that both the child's nose and mouth are fully covered and that the mask is perfectly adjusted to the face.
Finally, we must not forget that it is important for children to continue to comply with basic hygiene and safety measures such as hand washing, coughing and sneezing at the elbow and keeping a safe distance.
We hope this article was useful to you and your little ones!