Guidelines On Mask Use for Children
Even as Coronavirus infections rise among minors, and mask use for children is a priority among most parents in India, questions persist about mask use for minors.
With questions ranging from what is the best mask for school for my child, to what type of mask offers maximum protection against infections; parents have legitimate concerns about mask use for their child.
Fortunately, with guidelines from the World Health Organization, and other reliable sources, most of these questions can be answered. Read further for guidelines on mask use for minors from the experts.
Experts Recommend Mask Use Based on Your Child’s Age
According to WHO and UNICEF, toddlers 5 and under are not required to wear masks, as toddlers cannot ensure proper mask use without constant supervision.
Children ages 6 to 11, especially those in areas with rising Coronavirus numbers, are advised to wear well-fitted masks. Masks should be worn by children ages 6 to 11 in:
- In indoor settings with poor ventilation, even if physical distancing of 1-meter can be maintained
- In indoor settings with adequate ventilation where physical distancing of 1-meter cannot be managed
Mask use for 12 to 17-year olds is recommended in keeping with mask use recommendations for adults. 12 to 17-year olds, especially those in areas with rising Coronavirus numbers, are advised to wear masks in:
- In indoor settings wherein the ventilation is poor, even if physical distancing of 1 meter can be maintained
- In indoor settings where physical distancing of 1 meter cannot be maintained, even if ventilation is adequate
- In crowded outdoor settings where it might not be possible to maintain a 1-meter physical distance at all times
Best Mask for Everyday Use
With schools reopened across the country and children going back to their routine outside the home, including school and play, parents have legitimate questions about everyday mask use.
What is the best mask for school is a recurring question, best answered by the World Health Organizations guidelines? WHO guidelines recommend the use of well-fitted masks that protect the mouth and nose.
However, with the emergence of the highly infectious SARS CoV-2 Omicron variant, the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention in the US, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India have recommended N95 masks. Many experts also recommend N95 masks for kids in crowded school settings.
With the threat of Coronavirus to kids, mask use is recommended for all kids, unless respiratory illnesses or disabilities make mask use untenable. When using N95 masks, experts recommend buying N95 masks for kids from retailers selling the NIOSH certified mask with ‘NIOSH’ or the NIOSH logo printed on it.
Q: Why is it better for my child to wear an N95 mask?
A: While wearing an N95 mask is not mandatory for minors, the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention in the US and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India have recommended N95 masks.
Q: Where do I buy N95 masks for children?
A: Authentic N95 masks for children can be purchased online or at a store near you.