- The mask should cover face, nose and chin
- Kids should wear a mask when outside
- Children under 5 years of age need not wear a mask: WHO
One may find children to be often reluctant towards wearing a mask. Also, a certain age group of children, like 5 or younger, may find it difficult to wear a mask. Thus, it is important that parents know the guidelines as to when a child should or should not wear a mask for protection from coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, wearing a mask is important when one is in crowded places, where COVID-19 is widespread, and physical distancing cannot be maintained.
COVID-19: Should kids be wearing a mask?
According to the World Health Organization, children under the age of five need not wear a mask, because they are less likely to be able to wear it properly. Having said that, there may be local requirements, or times when a mask is necessary. For example, when the child is sick.
- Children in the age of six to 11 years old can wear a mask when recommended. Parents need to ensure that they wear it safely, and there is adequate adult supervision.
- Children above 12 years of age should follow the same guidelines for wearing a mask as adults, especially when a physical distance of one metre from others, cannot be maintained (say in public transport).
- Children with developmental disorders or disabilities, the need for wearing a mask should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
What kind of mask should kids use?
- According to WHO, kids with an underlying health issue like cystic fibrosis or cancer, should wear a medical mask for protection.
- Children in general good health should wear a fabric face mask when they cannot be at at least one metre distance from others.
- Before putting on the mask, kids should clean their hands for at least 20 seconds when using an alcohol-based hand rub. They should clean hands for 40 seconds when cleaning their hands with soap and water.
- The mask should be of the right size to cover the nose, mouth and chin.
- They should not touch the front of the mask.
- They should not put the mask under the nose, chin or mouth.
- They should not share the mask with anyone.
- After taking off the mask, they should store it in a bag or container, and clean their hands.
"With the help of these simple tips and good supervision, children can stay safe while wearing their masks, and still have fun with their friends," the WHO video on Instagram mentions.
To provide protection to children under five years of age, a face shield can be helpful, says paediatrician Dr Gorika Bansal. Kids above five years of age using fabric face masks should be taught the importance of washing the mask with detergent soap and hot water, after a single use. "The mask should be worn by children under adult supervision. Parent should make sure that the mask covers their nose and chin, and that they don't fiddle too much with the masks. Hand hygiene is equally important," Dr Bansal tells DoctorNDTV.
(Dr Gorika Bansal, Paediatritian and Neonatologist; Paediatric Consultant at Babies And Children's Medical Center, Green park, Delhi and Madhukar Rainbow's Children's Hospital)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.