Even as more and more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, health experts recommend we keep wearing masks in public. It's a proven way to help stop the spread of the virus.

How Do Masks Help?

COVID-19 can spread when people breathe, talk, cough, or sneeze. Wearing a mask keeps the virus from reaching others. It also can stop the virus from reaching you. If everyone wears a mask when they're out in public, fewer people will get sick.

Who Shouldn't Wear a Mask?

Most of us can and should wear masks when in public. But some people cannot, including:

  • children younger than 2 years old
  • someone who is sick and has trouble breathing
  • anyone who can't take a mask off without help
  • people with some types of cognitive, developmental, or behavioral conditions

What Can Help Kids When They Wear Masks?

Most kids are now used to seeing people in masks. Still, some toddlers and young children may feel uneasy about it. Masks hide part of a person's face, so kids can't see the friendly smile or familiar look that usually puts them at ease. When kids can't see the person's whole face, it's harder to feel safe. It's natural to feel scared.

Parents can help by explaining why they might need to wear a mask at school, childcare, and other public places. Even very young kids can learn that something that seemed scary at first is not scary after all.

To help kids wear masks when you go out:

  • Teach kids how to put masks on and take them off. Remind them that masks should always cover the nose and mouth.
  • Make it fun and personal. You can find fun, colorful masks in many stores. Looks for ones with superhero characters, movie favorites, silly faces, or animal prints. Kids might opt for a plain mask that they can decorate with markers, stickers, beads, or sequins. A personal touch can help make masks a more normal part of their routine.

For more information about masks, visit the CDC's guide.

Back to Articles


Related Articles

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is making people sick with flu-like symptoms. Read this article to learn how to protect your family, and to know when to call your doctor.

Read More

Wearing and Caring for Masks

Coronavirus can spread when people breathe, talk, cough, or sneeze. Wearing a mask keeps the virus from reaching others.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): How YOU Can Stop the Spread

Why is social distancing important? Find out how to keep yourself and other people healthy.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Talk to Your Child

Your kids are hearing about coronavirus (COVID-19). To make sure they get reliable information, here's how to talk about it.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Social Distancing With Children

More and more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19. But for now, it is safest to keep social distancing when out in public. Here's what that means.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Your Questions Answered

We're learning more about coronavirus (COVID-19) every day. Here are answers to some questions you may have about symptoms, care, and protecting your family.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: What to Do if Your Child Is Sick

There's still much to learn about COVID-19. Still, parents wonder what to do if their child gets sick during the pandemic. Here's what doctors say to do if your child has coronavirus symptoms.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Calming Anxiety

Many people - kids and adults - are worried about coronavirus (COVID-19). But anxiety about it doesn't have to get the upper hand. Here's how to calm fears and focus on good things.

Read More

Why Are People Wearing Face Masks?

You might think face masks are mostly for the operating room. But during the coronavirus outbreak, you might see more people wearing them. Here's why.

Read More

Coronavirus: What Kids Can Do

Here are the 4 best ways everyone (including kids) can help stop coronavirus.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Caring for Kids With Special Health Needs

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, kids with special health care needs still need routine care. But how they get it might change.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Home Care & Precautions

Anyone who is sick — even if they don't know for sure they have coronavirus (COVID-19) — should stay home unless they need medical care. This helps prevent the illness from spreading to others.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Helping Kids With Autism Cope

Adjusting to new routines during the coronavirus pandemic is stressful for everyone, but especially for children with autism who have trouble with change. Here's how parents can help.

Read More

Understanding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Looking for information about coronavirus (COVID-19)? Our articles and videos explain what the virus is, ways to prevent it from spreading, what it means for school and learning, and much more.

Read More

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.

Search our entire site.