My children have always been alarmed when it comes to wearing things over their head or over their face. We’ve never had a face covering or mask with our Halloween costumes and they’re certainly not jazzed about wearing a mask to go out in public. With all of the school reopening plans being announced, it looks like students will have to wear masks when they go back to school.
Here are some tips for getting your child used to wearing a mask and some places you can purchase child sized masks to keep the community safe and healthy.
Free adult sized face masks are available for residents of Marion county who need one and don’t already have one.
How to Get Your Child to Wear a Mask
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children over the age of two wear masks. We spoke with Dr. Julia Degler, MD of Family & Primary Care from Hancock Family Medicine and she had some great tips for getting your children to wear masks.
- Explain what a mask is for or read a book about wearing masks (see free resource below).
- Put a mask on their doll or teddy bear.
- Draw a smiley face on the front of a mask.
- Demonstrate and set an example by wearing a mask yourself.
- Let them practice wearing a mask before going to a place or location where they would need to wear a mask.
Free Children’s Book About Wearing Masks
Dr. Degler read a children’s book about wearing masks. This book was written by Tara Tuchel, an autism specialist. She wanted to help children learn to understand what’s happening. You can download a free copy of Seeing Other People Wearing Masks, A Story for Children. The story is also available in Spanish, Ver a otras personas usando mascarillas, Una historia para niños .
Choosing a Mask for Kids
Dr. Degler reminds us that the less air that’s getting out of our mask into the environment, the better. “If you just have a piece of cloth or your hand over your mouth, more air is escaping, air that could have the germs in it.” The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines say that masks for children should “securely cover the nose and mouth and stretch from before the ear to the other side.”
Proper Care and How to Wear a Mask
- Children should not wear a mask when eating or drinking.
- Remind children that they should not touch or play with their masks. Proper fitting masks will lead to less fussing.
- Children and the adults that assist with putting on masks should wash their hands before and after removing a mask.
- Wash your child’s mask after each time it is worn.
- When taking the mask off, help your child remove it from behind without touching the front.
When Should Kids Wear Masks
According to the CDC, children need masks when they are less than six feet away from others who are not in their immediate family. Children should also wear masks if they are in contact with surfaces that could harbor the virus. If you are unable to leave your child at home when visiting the doctor, grocery store or other environments, it is recommended that they wear a mask.
What Are the Best Masks for Kids?
Now that many areas are lifting stay at home orders, masks for children are becoming more common and available. The CDC says, “Homemade or purchased cloth masks are suitable for the average person to wear. For a child, especially a small child, ensuring the right fit is important.”
The CDC advises that pleated masks with elastic are likely to work best for children, but emphasizes that size and a good fit are very important.
Many parents have found that their children have a better experience when wearing gaiter face masks.
Mask Sizes for Children
Adult masks are generally 6×12 inches and child-sized masks are typically 5×10 inches.
Where to Buy Masks for Kids
Children’s masks are available online from many different sellers. Local department stores and boutique clothing stores have started carrying masks in-store as well. Here are some places to buy masks for children;
- My Shield Mask – Zionsville, Indiana based mask maker has children’s face masks and adult masks available. These masks are made with a soft and spongy, 3-layer sandwich material that hugs the face comfortably.
- Hoosier Face Masks – The Local business owners of Zips Dry Cleaners pivoted their business to provide work for their seamstress team and have been sewing masks. Custom designs and bulk orders available. Children’s sizes will be available on their website soon, but order custom sizes now.
- AH Collection – This boutique clothing store offers children’s masks online and for pick-up in store when they’re in stock.
- Threads & Needles – Children’s sizes are available now in a three pack or single of the pleated masks. Local sports team fabric designs are also available.