Even before this recommendation, homemade masks were being produced by talented and creative people worldwide to help with the pandemic and shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). These skills are appreciated, but should not be marketed for babies and infants to wear. These products (infant masks, masks attached to pacifiers, etc.) may pose more harm than benefit in terms of safety for children under the age of 2 years old.
Why Are Cloth Masks Being Recommended?
To help slow the spread of the virus in public settings. Some people do not have any symptoms but can still transmit the virus to others.
What Are the Different Kinds of Masks?
Cloth masks can be made at home from common materials; they may help prevent the spread of infection by acting as a barrier for when the wearer sneezes, coughs or speaks.
Surgical, or loop masks, also may help prevent infection; you may see these being provided by health care organizations for employees or visitors in order to protect against large droplets or bodily fluids.
N95 masks should be reserved for healthcare workers. These masks protect the wearer against small particles that are considered airborne. Many healthcare professionals are required to have special testing and training to ensure these fit properly for optimal protection.
Why Shouldn’t My Infant Use a Mask?
Baby’s airways are smaller, so breathing through a mask is even harder on them.
Using a mask on an infant may increase the risk of suffocation. Masks are harder to breathe through. A snug fit will give them less access to air, and a loose fit will not provide much protection.
If they are having are hard time breathing, infants are unable to take the mask off themselves and could suffocate.
Older infants or young toddlers are not likely to keep the mask on and will likely try to remove it, as well as touch their faces more.
There are no N95 masks approved for young children.
How Can I Protect My Infant?
Limit exposure and avoid unnecessary public contact.
If going out is essential, cover the infant carrier (NOT THE INFANT) with a blanket, which helps protect the baby, but still gives them the ability to breathe comfortably. Do not leave the blanket on the carrier in the car or at any time when the baby and carrier are not in direct view.
At Little Academy Nursery, we follow a strict procedure to maintain a high level of sterilization in terms of washing and sterilizing hands frequently during the day as our staff wear a glove and hair net when feeding children and we emphasize teaching older children to keep the hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or, use a hand sanitizer that is safe for kids.
We also clean and sterilize surfaces and equipment that are frequently touched by a special sterilization machine.