Need help getting children to wear masks? Tucson doctor shares tips

Kids and masks: Tips for parents

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A new school year is around the corner, bringing a host of challenges in the age of the coronavirus. This comes as many families still don’t know exactly when classrooms will reopen.

In some districts, kids who learn in-person may be asked to wear a mask. But getting them to do that just might require education in itself.

Dr. Sandra Herron of Tanque Verde Pediatrics shared some tips, as she helps guide patients and families through the transition. She says small children, age 2 and under, should use a four-by-six-inch mask with five inches of elastic.

Older kids, around 4 and up, may have to wear a mask for the entire school day. Those big kid masks should measure about five-by-seven with six inches of elastic around the ears to be most comfortable.

“It’s going to be hard,” Herron said. “It’s an adjustment. But you can practice a little bit now.”

For bigger kids, around four and up, Herron recommends a five by seven mask with six inches of elastic around the ears.

”The snugger it fits, the better that it works, and the less that they pull and mess with them,” Herron said.

She encourages parents to let kids be a part of the process, choosing their own fun printed mask, if possible.

There’s one thing Herron makes clear: NO mask should ever impede breathing.

“We’ve done studies on kids here with masks and without masks, measuring their oxygen levels, and we found that masks do not impede their flow of oxygen at all.” Herron said. “Even asthmatic kids - especially asthmatic kids - should be wearing a mask.”

Certain kids simply may not be able to tolerate a mask. If it keeps them from learning, it’s up to the parent and school to work together on the next step.

The Tucson Unified School District, for instance, is in the process of deciding on mask regulations for students. Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo said, if parents do not want their children to wear a mask for personal or political reasons, the schools will offer at-home learning instead.

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