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Article from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Face masks are still an essential tool for many families to help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This includes new and more contagious variants.
Masks help protect unvaccinated and vaccinated people and are essential for individuals to use in areas where the COVID-19 Community Level is high. Masks can be safely worn by all children older than two years. They should be considered for children aged 2-5 years, which are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccines, and people at risk of serious illness. Individuals may choose to continue wearing face masks when they go out to protect themselves or their family members.
Some parents may have concerns about face masks, and we're here to help. Here are some common questions, along with the facts about kids and masks, that will put your mind at ease:
There have been concerns that face masks can reduce oxygen intake and lead to low blood oxygen levels, known as hypoxemia. However, masks are made from breathable materials that will not block the oxygen your child needs. Masks have not been shown to affect a child's ability to focus or learn in school. Most children age 2 or older can safely wear face masks for extended periods, such as during preschool or childcare. This includes most children with special health care needs.
No, wearing a face mask will not affect your child's lungs from developing typically. This is because oxygen flows through and around the mask while blocking the spray of spit and respiratory droplets that may contain the virus. Keeping your child's lungs healthy is essential, including preventing infections like COVID-19.
False reports show that face masks can lead to carbon dioxide poisoning (known as hypercapnia) from re-breathing the air. Carbon dioxide molecules are tiny, even smaller than respiratory droplets. Breathable materials cannot trap them. Surgeons wear tight-fitting masks all day as part of their jobs, without harm.
Children under two years of age should not wear masks since they may not be able to remove them without help. Children with severe breathing problems or cognitive impairments may also have difficulty tolerating a face mask, and extra precautions may be needed.
No. Wearing a face mask does not weaken your immune system or increase your chances of getting sick if exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Wearing a show, even if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, helps prevent the virus from spreading.
When worn correctly, face masks create a barrier that reduces the spray of a person's spit and respiratory droplets. These droplets play a vital role in spreading COVID-19 because they can carry SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Masks can also protect you from others who may have coronavirus but are not showing symptoms and could come within 6 feet of you, which is how far respiratory droplets can travel when people sneeze or cough or raise their voices.