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While it has been advised by Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that children who are 2 and older should be wearing masks, what is more important is the continuous usage of masks by children when they are in shared indoor spaces and a mask that is safe and comfortable to wear over a long period of time. The mask being used should be well fitted with adjustable ear loops or metal nose bridge so that the mask fits perfectly over the nose and mouth without causing breathing discomfort.
How The Masks Work
Masks help by creating a barrier for respiratory droplets and not allowing transmission from one person to another. N95 fabric masks with a minimum of three layers are generally advised for children, which are washable and reusable. They should be dried completely before reusing, and washed as necessary once they are dirty, or smelly. Disposable N95 surgical masks are made of non-woven materials and are not advised for children, unless they have underlying conditions, have symptoms of or confirmed Covid-19.
Surgical masks are not washable or reusable and should be discarded safely(as bio-medical waste) after 8 hours of usage, as advised by WHO. Although there are a lot of masks in the market that have N95 stamps and stickers, most of them are fakes, as they are not regulated by governing authorities. Such masks could be more dangerous for the children. It is imperative that only those N95 masks should be used which have the appropriate certification and which fit well on the child’s face.
How To Ensure Your Child Does Not Take the Mask Off
No matter how many masks you get for your children, unless they do not use it properly, is will not be effective in minimising the spread of the virus. Therefore, the first step to ensure that your child will wear a mask is to make them want to wear a mask at all times. There are various ways depending on your child’s psychology, through which you can convince them to not take their mask off. These include explaining them severity of Covid-19 and the importance of masking, or you could get them masks with prints and designs of their favourite cartoon characters or superheroes.
UNICEF has listed the following as some of the Dos and Don’ts that you should teach the children as important habits for masking-
4.Make sure that your child does not wear a loose, damaged, dirty or wet mask. Loose or damaged masks will not prevent the virus from travelling through the gaps. A dirty mask can be more dangerous than beneficial, as it may carry germs and infections which could cause serious illness. A mask tends to lose its ability to protect when it is wet, and therefore it should be dry at all times during usage.
To conclude, it is most important, now more than ever with the schools opening shortly, that your children learn how to use a mask efficiently to protect them and everyone else around them as well, because no one is safe until everyone is safe.
Nirvana Being has launched a range of Nirvana Masks and Airific N95 masks for kids in fun designs which have a nanotechnology filter layer in the centre and are tested and approved by Nelson Labs, USA. The nanotechnology filter layer gives maximum protection while causing lowest breathing resistance and the designs of Disney, Marvel and Pixar characters, a combination that is not to miss.