COVID-19 began at the start of the year, and since then, people have been adorning a new facial accessory whenever they are stepping outside. This complies with the medical experts and the government’s recommendation on slowing the spread of coronavirus in Australia.
Other measures include observing good hand hygiene that involves cleaning hands with soap and water or disinfecting with an alcohol-based sanitizer, maintaining social distance, and staying at home.
The pandemic has entered into another phase in Australia. The authorities are slowly making it mandatory to wear a cloth face mask when out in public to protect yourself and others. Reports indicate that most of the population are symptomatic or lack symptoms; thus, the virus can be transferred between individuals at proximity when speaking, sneezing, and coughing even when not exhibiting symptoms.
The big question now is whether it’s right for your little ones to wear masks in public to avoid getting infected. Continue reading the article for more insight.
The Present Guidelines for Wearing Masks
The DDHS guidelines on wearing a face covering by children state that babies and toddlers below two years should never wear masks due to strangulation and choking risks. Thus even if it’s compulsory to wear masks in Victoria when stepping outside, it’s not mandatory for kids.
According to the guideline across the world, each person wearing a mask should be able to put it on and remove it, which is not possible for under two years.
Should Young Children Wear Face Mask in Public?
As stated above, toddlers shouldn’t wear face masks even when stepping outside because they can’t vocalize when they aren’t able to breathe correctly. Thus, it’s difficult to tell when they are experiencing trouble breathing.
Further, most babies don’t want to have anything on them, including headbands and hats. Thus they will pull them out, and the same applies to face mask. Therefore, even if it were allowed to put masks on young children, it’s hard to keep them on throughout the period you are outside.
Alternative Options to Face Masks
Keeping kids away from public places such as pharmacy and grocery stores is the best way. That means that parents should avoid going outside with their kids, particularly in crowded places, whether they have face coverings or not.
Nonetheless, unavoidable circumstances may force you to carry your kids to a crowded city or use public transport. Experts have issued excellent ways of safeguarding your toddler when going into public places.
Wear Your Baby: For smaller babies that can’t fit in a baby carrier, you should be carried him or her facing you. That means the infant should be close to your body, and you should wear your mask to avoid getting infected by others and contaminating your child.
Use The Baby‘s Car Seat and a Cover: Toting a baby around in their seat can be cumbersome; however, you can use a car seat and cover it with a breathable fabric.
Use a Stroller with a Cover: A stroller with a plastic cover is a good option; however, you can use a breathable fabric whenever this is not possible. Alternatively, you can put the stroller’s awning down if you step out without a cover. This is better than not covering the baby.
How Should Older Kids Handle Face Mask?
DHHS recommends kids aged two years and above to wear masks in a public setting. However, their masks should meet the following conditions.
- The masks should have either earl loops or ties that secure it around the ears or behind the head.
- It should neither be too little or too big, but instead, it should fit snugly against the side of the face. The parent should ensure that the mask is not too tight but comfortable to avoid interfering with the child’s ability to breathe or support breathing without restriction.
- It should have multiple layers, just like an adult face mask. A good mask should be efficient in reducing the distance travelled by respiratory droplets when the child coughs, sneezes, and speak.
- A good fabric face mask should be washable using a machine or hand without getting damaged or losing its shape.
- You may also give your children short breaks, especially when there are not near other people or children. Even so, you have to train them to follow the guidelines on removing and putting on face masks. They can take those short breaks, especially when they are eating or drinking.
Where Can You Get These Face Masks?
It would help if you did not share your mask with your children irrespective of their age. Instead, please buy them well-fitting masks or improvise one. Aussie Defender has a wide range of masks for both adults and kids.
Alternatively, you can tie a bandana or a scarf over their nose and mouth. Ensure that the kids are still having fun in the whole process rather than getting scared. You can achieve this by helping them take ownership of their face covering. For instance, the mask should have a favourite colour and design. It can also match your face mask.
Teach them to avoid touching their mask with their hands, removing it unnecessary, or sharing it with other kids. One way of achieving all this is by rewarding them at the end of the day. This will train them to treat their mask responsibly.
On the other hand, are you leaving your kids at home whenever possible remains the best option? It’s essential to take them out to get fresh air or walk; however, asking them to accompany you in the grocery stores, pharmacy, or other crowded places the same way you did before the start of the pandemic can be risky.
The medical professionals and government don’t recommend the wearing of masks by children below two years. This will minimize cases of choking or breathing problems.
Kids above aged two and above can wear face masks in public. However, a parent or caregiver should train them on how to handle their mask, such as not adjusting it, removing it, or sharing it.
You can buy super comfortable cloth face masks for your kids from Aussie Defender. It has a wide variety that will appeal to your kids.