Many months ago before we knew very much about covid or anything about living through a pandemic. We at Tyoub were preparing for a kids design market – the timing was great for us and we were looking forward to sharing some gorgeous new prints and styles. I had been watching the news coming out of Wuhan and had decided to start making face masks, it was March 2020. I made children’s face masks, as my immediate concern as a mother is for the well fair of our children.
Little did I know then that this virus would be devastating to older generations and our beloved grandparents and parents would be at greatest risk. The advice from the Australian government is for people over the age of 12 years, wear a face mask when unable to maintain a social distance of 1.5m from another person and in all indoor venues while restrictions apply.
Fast forward 18 months and we are still wearing face masks, but the little ones don’t seem to need them. But when we begin to travel again will we feel the need to pop one on our primary and pre-schoolers before heading through a busy international airport? Or will they be mandatory for children who are not vaccinated?
The news from the United States and the advice that they are being given is that children over the age of two, should wear a mask when they can’t maintain adequate distance from another person.
The reason being is that although children have shown little adverse and severe symptoms in positive cases to COVID-19, we should be protecting others, should our child be an unknowing vector.
It’s difficult to stay the least, to try and stop a child from picking their nose and touching their faces every two minutes, let alone wear a face mask, most children won’t tolerate it! But children have become very familiar with the adults wearing them, so the oddity has worn off and face masks are not so scary anymore. Instead of forcing and insisting that your child wear one, ask them to choose their own print or colour. Have a few options to choose from makes them feel in control, talk kindly and practice in short playful sessions. Even 15 seconds at first will help, especially while sitting quietly watching tv or at story time.
Which type of mask should a child wear if any? The American Academy of Paediatrics recommend a cloth mask with simple elastic ear loops are preferred, leave the medical grade ones for healthcare workers.
You want the mask to sit comfortably from the bridge of the nose to below the chin, it should be wide enough to extend onto the cheeks towards the ears along the cheekbones. Cotton is a great material and dual layered is sufficient, avoid linens or loose weaves or super absorbent cloths and synthetics.
Whether or not we will need our families to wear face masks into 2022 and beyond, remains to be seen. But remember that kids will model your behaviour and face mask wearing has been a very cost-effective way of protecting our community from transmission of this virus. Place no pressure or fear into wearing a face mask around your child and remember that kids are adaptable, and they read our emotions, so keep your own anxiety to a minimum.
We are going to come through the other side of this. 2022 might be the year of our first international flights that we take as families, to bucket list holiday destinations. I for one am looking forward to putting my seat into the upright position and stowing my luggage to prepare for take-off.
*The above article does not offer medical advice and is intended as general opinion only. Please check all medical advice with your General Practitioner and with your local government authority.