Should Your Child Wear a Face Mask?

As Arizona cities and school districts make rules when it comes to face coverings, how should you talk to your kids about pandemic safety?

Two Valley doctors have some recommendations when it comes to those tough, but necessary conversations.  “As far as older kids are concerned, I think that’s an opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about personal responsibility, about taking responsibility for their own health,” said Dr. Salil Pradhan, a pediatric hospitalist with Valleywise Health Medical Center.

“Wear a mask,” said Dr. Brad Golner with Phoenix Pediatrics. “But be a good role model so your kids can be encouraged to do it, so your kids are comfortable. Remember — you’re protecting everybody else.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recently released some guidelines. It says kids under two should not wear cloth face coverings and “staying home and physical distancing is still the best way to protect your family from COVID-19.”

Dr. Pradhan says he thinks the big concern parents might have right now is whether kids will actually keep masks on at school. He says that will vary depending on how old they are and suggests teaching them how to wear masks properly, make sure they are comfortable and change them every day.

The doctors say it’s also important to explain why it’s important to wear one. “You don’t know what other people have at home, as far as if they have older grandparents with them at home, or parents that have other diseases or other medical conditions that make them more susceptible to the coronavirus,” said Dr. Salil Pradhan.

Dr. Golner suggests having your child practice wearing a face covering and teaching them not to touch their mouth or face. If school were to start today, this is what he says you should consider before sending your child to campus: “What is the health condition of the child going to school and number two, who is living in the household? If you have a high risk household member, you have to anticipate that you’re child there’s a chance they may bring it home,” he said.

You could also be contagious with COVID-19 for a few days before you even exhibit symptoms, Dr. Golner said, and sometimes kids can have no symptoms at all and can be contagious. Dr. Golner says a small part of the population will be hit hard by coronavirus and will do very poorly and it’s the responsibility of the 99% to protect the 1% with good hygiene, along with CDC recommendations.

Last week the Kyrene School District outlined its plan for students returning to the classroom for the upcoming school year.

Experts suggest you should pay close attention to your district’s requirements. If you have any specific concerns about your child and their potential underlying conditions that may impact wearing a mask, like anxiety, contact their doctor.

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