Mask on: Should babies also wear masks?

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The coronavirus pandemic has made a lot of people extra careful. Not only is it a time when people are anxious about what is going to happen next but are also cautious so as not to be infected with the coronavirus.

No one is unsusceptible to this disease, even babies. And to avoid the transmission of this virus, the World Health Organization has been continuously reminding the public to avoid close contact from people suffering from acute respiratory infections.

One way to avoid transmission is to wear masks.

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But experts say babies should not wear masks. Here are some of the reasons:

1. The airways of babies are smaller compared to adults in children.

Breathing through a mask is difficult for babies because of their small airways. That is the same reason why babies are not covered with blankets when they sleep at night.

Because of this, experts say that it is more advisable that if there is a need to bring them outside the house, cover the carrier. This way, babies can breathe comfortably.

2. Masks can have a choking hazard.

The particles of a mask, even the very small ones, can choke a baby. This could be true in cloth masks or even the surgical masks.

3. Masks can cause suffocation to babies.

Breathing through a mask even to some adults is difficult, what more for the babies? Also, if the mask's fit is loose, this will only give lesser protection, and if it is too tight, then babies might have less access to air.

4. Babies are not yet capable of removing their masks

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), children below two years old should not wear masks. That is because if they are having difficulty breathing because of it, they cannot discard masks on their own and would need assistance to do so. This is risky and would only entail danger.

5. There are no N95 masks approved for infants.

Considering that the fit of a mask is crucial in protecting a baby, it will only be improper to have babies wear N95 masks (the suitable type of mask) that are too big for the babies.

Taking care of babies is already a very delicate job, especially nowadays, when a pandemic is testing the entire world. Specialists and authorities highly encourage families to stay at home. But if it still is inevitable for them to avoid public contact, precautionary measure like wearing masks is necessary. A mini face shield may also be helpful, just like the ones made for the babies in Thailand as temporary protection for them.

Aside from wearing masks, babies may be protected by keeping their hands and the parents' hands clean. A good precaution is also to keep frequently held things (doorknobs, electronics, light switches, etc.) clean.

For this is the time when we can attest that the saying, "Prevention is better than cure," applies to all of us.

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