Why baby face masks are dangerous and how to protect young ones from coronavirus

Face masks can be dangerous for babies and toddlers under age 2, but there are steps you can take to protect the little ones from the coronavirus.

Babies and toddlers have smaller airways, making breathing through a face mask more difficult than for adults. If they do have trouble breathing, they can’t tell anyone and wouldn’t be able to take the face mask off themselves, raising a risk of suffocation.

“Children under age 2 also will try to remove the mask, causing them to touch their faces even more than otherwise — increasing infection risk,” said Sharon Rengers, R.N., manager with Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness. “Face masks also may have strings or elastic bands that a small child could choke on.”

Take the Super Kid pledge

Being a Norton Children’s Super Kid means pledging to:

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Cough into your elbow
  • Not touch your face
  •  Keep your hands to yourself

Be sure to post pictures of your Super Kid wearing a mask by tagging @NortonChildrens and #NortonChildrensSuperKid.

While it appears the coronavirus tends to affect children less severely than adults, some children under age 2 have gotten very sick. Keeping the young ones at home and away from others isn’t always practical.

Steps to protect children under 2 from coronavirus

  • Wash your hands well and often. Teach others in your home to do the same. This is especially important:
  • Wear a face covering at home if you are sick. Try to limit contact with your child until your symptoms have stopped.
  • If you take your child out in an infant carrier, you can place a blanket over the carrier while it’s within your view. Make sure the blanket doesn’t touch the baby. Wipe down the carrier or stroller when you get home.


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