COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- COVID-19 can infect anyone, even kids, and medical experts at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, Colorado Springs say parents need to communicate why wearing a mask is important for the health and safety of everyone around them.
For parents of younger children, the concept of a pandemic may still be too hard grasp, so parents need to model mask-wearing habits themselves.
Experts say kids should also be practicing wearing their masks at home. Their first outing outside of the house should not be the first time they’re putting on a mask.
Kids can ditch their masks outdoors only if parents can ensure they'll be within a socially-safe distance from other people at all times.
Experts still recommend kids wear a mask outdoors, especially if they'll be touching common surfaces.
Ultimately, parents are encouraged to use their best judgement when it comes to kids and mask-wearing.
Younger kids who frequently fidget and touch their masks actually do themselves more harm than good. In those instances, parents may opt to ditch their masks altogether.
But more times than not, experts say mask-related problems in kids are easily addressed.
"Find out exactly what's bothering them is the most important part," says Sara Saporta-Keating, Epidemiologist at Children's Hospital Colorado. "Particularly the ear loops can be the most irritating to kids."
Experts say children often refuse to wear a mask because they feel like they don’t have a say and they want to demonstrate their independence from you.
By giving them options, like the ability to choose their mask, parents can help increase their sense of control and their likelihood of cooperating.
For kids with asthma, experts say they still should wear a mask.
From what we know about the disease so far, kids with asthma might be at an increased risk of being hospitalized due to COVID-19 if they’re infected.
It’s especially important for parents to teach kids how to put on their mask correctly. Remind them to always try to hold their mask and put it on using the ear loops.
Experts say parents should make sure kids are washing their hands before and after handling their masks, as well.