Doctor: Kids, but not infants, should wear masks during COVID-19 pandemic

Older kids should still wear masks according to doctor
Posted at 4:26 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 19:36:31-04

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WTVF) — Infants should not wear face masks due to suffocation and choking risks according to a local doctor.

As Tennessee slowly starts to reopen, medical experts recommend that older kids wear masks out in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“For average kids absolutely they should wear masks, but the CDC has come out with recommendations where they recommend children less than 2 years of age should not be wearing masks," Dr. Joseph Gigante said.

Dr. Gigante is a professor of pediatrics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. He said it’s great that cloth masks are being sewn for all sizes so kids can be in public while staying safe. However, he said having a mask on a baby can potentially suffocate them.

“Depending on the size of the mask, it’s a potential choking hazard as well, so for those reasons the recommendation is to not use masks on infants less than 2 years of age,” Dr. Gigante said.

Since it’s not recommended that babies wear masks, there are some alternatives.

“If you have a stroller you can potentially put a little blanket or a little covering over the stroller, or if you have one of these strollers with a top, put the top down and that will hopefully protect any kind of air droplets or virus if it was in the environment from coming down and contact with your infant’s face,” Dr. Gigante said.

Dr. Gigante said parents and guardians should make sure masks are a good fit too. “If you’ve got a child of age hopefully they’ll be able to take the mask off on their own if they are having some problems breathing.”

There are some mask tips here.