Kids’ face masks: How to help your child

Wearing a mask (when age-appropriate) is a way for families to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Norton Children’s wants every child to be a “Super Kid.” Super Kids help keep themselves and their friends and family healthy by wearing a face mask.

Wearing a mask (when age-appropriate) is a way for people to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep children and families safer during the COVID-19 outbreak. Norton Children’s wants every child to be a “Super Kid.” Super Kids help keep themselves and their friends and family healthier by completing healthy actions. 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

Why should kids wear face masks?

Since many people with COVID-19 may not have symptoms, wearing a mask can help reduce the risk of spreading the virus through the spray of spit or respiratory droplets. This is especially true, for example, if someone with COVID-19 sneezes or coughs within 6 feet of you, which is about the range of transmitting infection through droplets.

NOTE: Children younger than 2 should not wear a face mask.

When should kids wear face masks?

Children age 2 and older should wear a face mask when they are in places where they may not be able to avoid being 6 feet apart. Places like this include going to the pediatrician’s office, pharmacy or grocery store with their parent or guardian.

Children do not need to wear masks:

  • At home, assuming they have not been exposed to anyone with COVID-19
  • Outside, as long as they can stay 6 feet away from others and avoid touching things

Parents may need to reconsider face masks if:

  • The mask is a potential choking or strangulation hazard for your child.
  • Wearing the mask causes your child to touch their face more often than they would if they weren’t wearing it.
  • Children with special needs or respiratory conditions may have difficulty tolerating a face mask. For these children, special precautions may be needed. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about how best to manage the situation.

Ways to help your Super Kid feel comfortable with a mask on

Take the Super Kid pledge

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

Children may have a hard time adjusting to wearing a face mask; it may seem scary or difficult for them to fully understand the “why.” Parents can help their child by making wearing a mask seem less scary. Here’s a list of ways families can tackle the challenge together:

  • Practice wearing the mask at home to get used to the sensation.
  • While wearing masks, look in the mirror and talk about it. How do you feel when wearing a mask?
  • Wear them as a family and post your pictures.
  • Put a mask on a favorite stuffed animal or toy — they can be a Super Kid with you!
  • Decorate a mask so it’s more personalized and fun.
  • Show your child pictures of other children wearing masks.
  • Draw a mask on their favorite book character.

When talking to your child about wearing a mask, make the content appropriate for the child’s age. If your child is under 3, try explaining it in very simple terms: “People wear masks so they don’t get each other sick.” For older children, you can focus on the concept of germs. Some germs are good, some are bad, and the bad ones can make you sick. State that wearing masks can help keep us from passing our germs to one another. It’s important to reassure your child and continue the conversation if your child feels different because they have to wear the mask or worry that they’re sick because they have to wear a mask. Generally, the more you can practice wearing the mask at home and make wearing the mask a fun activity with the family, it can help lessen their fears. After all — superheroes, like Super Kids, wear masks!