Green Bay – Wearing a cloth mask, in addition to practicing physical distancing and frequent handwashing, plays a critical role in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital and Prevea Health offer the following guidance for parents and caregivers in helping children become more comfortable with wearing a mask.
Should all children wear a mask?
Children under the age of 2 should not wear a mask due to suffocation and choking hazards. In addition, parents of children with cognitive or respiratory impairments should exercise caution with masks for their children. If you have any questions or concerns about whether your child is healthy enough to wear a mask, it is important you consult with their primary care physician.
How can I help my child become more comfortable and/or less afraid of wearing a mask?
One of the most effective ways to help your child become more comfortable with wearing a mask is by being a role model. When you also wear a mask, and do so with a positive attitude, your child is likely to follow your lead! Here are some more helpful tips to help your children become more comfortable with masks:
Look in the mirror with your child while you each wear a mask, and talk about it.
Put a mask on a favorite stuffed animal.
Decorate the child’s mask(s) so they're more personalized and fun.
Show your child pictures of other children wearing masks.
Draw a mask on their favorite book character.
Practice wearing the mask at home to help your child get used to it.
How can I talk to my child about wearing a mask?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that for children under the age of 3, it's best to answer their questions simply in language they understand. If they ask about why people are wearing masks, explain that sometimes people wear them when they are sick, and when they are all better, they stop wearing them.
For children over the age of 3, the AAP recommends you focus on germs. Explain that germs are special to your own body. Some germs are good and some are bad. The bad ones can make you sick. Since we can't always tell which are good or bad, the masks help make sure you keep those germs away from your own body.
Dr. Josh Rankin, pediatrician at Prevea Health, recently shared these tips and much more on our most recent episode of Plug in to Health, Kids and Masking. Plug in to Health is a podcast produced by Prevea Health and available on major podcasting platforms such as Apple and Google Play, and at: www.prevea.com/podcast.
Prevea Health has more resources dedicated to helping adults and children navigate mask-wearing, including: How masks work, how to clean cloth masks, avoiding fogging glasses and skin irritation, and debunking mask myths. All of these resources are available in one convenient location at: www.prevea.com/masking.
About HSHS St. Vincent Children's Hospital
Located inside the walls of HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, Wis., HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital is Green Bay’s first and only children’s hospital. With every detail tailored to kids, HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital delivers exceptional health care to children while making them feel comfortable and supported. As a partner of Prevea Health, it has direct access to dedicated pediatricians and a wide variety of specialty care physicians. HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital is also a member of the Children’s Hospital Association, the voice for more than 220 children’s hospitals nationwide. For more information about HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, visit: www.stvincentchildrenshospital.org.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 Local Systems and physician practices in Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.
About Prevea Health
Founded in Green Bay, Wis. in 1996, Prevea Health is a health care organization that provides high-quality, primary and specialty health care in 80+ locations across Northern, Eastern and Western Wisconsin in clinic and hospital settings. It is partnered with six Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) hospitals across Wisconsin to provide patients a system of highly-coordinated care, close to home: HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay; HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan; HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls; HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire; and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls. For more information, visit www.prevea.com.