Ask the pediatrician: Should my toddler wear a mask?

May 07, 2021
Kids health
2 min read

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Hi Dr. Collison,

Should my two-year-old wear a mask when we go out in public?

As a precaution against the spread COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people wear face cloth coverings when they need to be out in public. However, there are certain exceptions to the recommendation when it comes to children:

  • Children under the age of two should not wear a face cloth covering.
  • Children should not wear a face cloth covering if it poses a choking or strangulation hazard.
  • If your child is considered high-risk or is severely immunocompromised, they are encouraged to wear an N95 mask.
  • Other precautions may be needed for children who have severe cognitive or respiratory issues.

Face cloth coverings should fit securely over the nose and mouth and should be worn if you take your child out in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as shopping at essential businesses like grocery stores or at doctor appointments. Children should wash their hands before and after putting coverings on and off and the covering should be washed after each use. Instructions for making your own cloth masks can be found online at cdc.gov and health.pa.gov

If your child is scared to wear a face cloth covering, consider the following tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Look in the mirror with the face coverings on and talk about it.
  • Put a cloth face covering on a favorite stuffed animal.
  • Decorate them so they're more personalized and fun.
  • Show your child pictures of other children wearing them.
  • Draw one on their favorite book character.
  • Practice wearing the face covering at home to help your child get used to it.

Mount Nittany Health is committed to the health, safety and wellbeing of its patients, staff and community. We are prepared for potential infectious disease outbreaks, whether its measles, flu or new viruses like coronavirus as part of our commitment to prevent disease and ensure a healthy community for all. We rigorously follow the guidance from the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health for screening and testing of patients for COVID-19; ensuring all levels of protection for our patients, staff and community.

As the situation continues to evolve, we have taken steps to prepare and protect our community, including a dedicated COVID-19 wing, limiting visitors in our facilities at Mount Nittany Health, except for special circumstances, screenings, test collection sites, masking requirements, and rescheduling elective and non-essential services. We continue to evaluate and will announce further measures as needed with the focus on our community’s health and wellbeing.

Please visit mountnittany.org/coronavirus for more information.

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