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Published on August 19, 2020

Does My Child Need to Wear a Mask?

Susan E. Lasky, DO, Pediatrics

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Wearing a mask is one of the most important ways we can work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. Universal masking, or when everyone wears a mask, is crucial to the success of schools reopening this fall.

According to the CDC, masks help to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets from landing on surfaces or on people near us. We at the Stamford Health Medical Group Pediatric Center fully support the use of masks for all people over the age of two.

Is it safe for my child to wear a mask?

Yes. Wearing a mask is not dangerous or hazardous to your child’s health. It does not interfere with taking in oxygen and it does not cause you to breathe in too much carbon dioxide. Children under two can wear masks safely for long periods of time, including a full school day.

Young child wearing face mask, smilingHow can I encourage my child to wear a mask?

Remind your child that masks protect you and others from getting sick and spreading COVID-19. We encourage you to practice wearing masks with your children before school officially starts so they can get used to wearing them for longer periods of time. Be positive about wearing them—children will follow your lead! (Hint: Make a project out of it, like creating no-sew face masks.)

See also: Calming Your Child's Anxiety About COVID-19.

Can my child be medically excused from wearing a mask?

There are very few medical reasons for someone to not wear a mask. We will only write a letter of exemption or a need for increased mask breaks for the following reasons:

  • Active difficulty breathing
  • Significant developmental delay or Autism Spectrum Disorder — These conditions may make your child less tolerant of the masks or unable to easily remove them.

The following conditions are not a risk factor for wearing masks and do not require increased mask breaks:

  • Asthma
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Migraine headaches
  • Fatigue

I understand asthma is not a valid reason for being excused from wearing a mask in school. Please explain.

If your child has asthma, is short of breath or is wheezing, they should stay home from school while they feel unwell. If these conditions are controlled and they don't otherwise show any symptoms of COVID-19, they can safely wear a mask for the same length of time as their peers.

If you have questions about universal masking, please feel free to discuss them with your doctor. Thank you for working with us to keep everyone’s health and safety top of mind.

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