Health expert: Face masks are safe for kids

Posted at 2:11 PM, Jul 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-04 15:11:13-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Health officials are saying children can be carriers of COVID-19 and with school starting next month, some parents have concerns about their child wearing a face mask.

Marnie Jones is just one of the many parents out there navigating new norms in the age of COVID-19.

"Sometimes they don't like it, but we just keep enforcing it," Jones said.

One of these habits is wearing a face mask when in public.

"We just started explaining to them why we are going to do it and just to keep them on as much as we can – so anytime we go somewhere – we put it on,” Jones said.

But with the mask comes a debate.

Many parents are concerned if their kids are wearing them properly, and are being deprived of oxygen. Some parents are wondering if masks are unsafe altogether.

Melissa St. Germaine, a pediatrician in Omaha, said the American Academy recommends that all kids over the age of two wear face masks in public.

"Air can move very easily through the cloth layers of a face mask," said St. Germaine.

With school just around the corner, and some mandating students wear masks, St. Germaine says it's a good time for young kids to get used to wearing one.

“Treat this like any other behavioral change we make with our kids. We make our kids do lots of stuff that they don't initially like to do. There is not a lot of two-year-olds like love brushing their teeth. There is not a lot of kids that love to go potty on the potty chair, but we have to teach those things,” said St. Germaine.

It's not just here in the united states -- countries across the globe are navigating safe ways for kids to go back to school.

In France, kid's under the age of 11 have no strict rules other than washing their hands every hour.

Meanwhile, schools in one China city are taking stricter measures. Young students are met with a temperature check and hand sanitizer. Masks are required and students eat behind plastic barriers in the cafeteria.

Uroosa Jawed, another mom maneuvering life in a global pandemic, said her son is excited to go back to school and is happy that his school is requiring face masks.

"You're not wearing your mask for yourself, you're wearing your mask for your friends to keep them safe. My son responds pretty well to that. He really feels that he is doing his part to help other people," said Jawed.

St. Germaine said most kids that contract COVID-19 recover without experiencing symptoms, and will recover easily. She adds it's the grandparents, older teachers, and vulnerable populations we should be protecting by wearing a face mask.

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