Health : Children’s face mask – why and how to make one?
As countries around the world continue to look for ways to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, there has been a lot of debate about the use of masks by the general public, as protective equipment in many parts of the world individual health care workers are in short supply. At this stage of the disease’s evolution, many countries in Europe, including France, are considering gradual deconfinement, especially for children. At the same time, these countries have imposed the wearing of respiratory masks or other similar means in certain public spaces. So it makes sense to wonder if it would be a good idea to make a child’s face mask. It would be a good way to provide the little ones with extra protection in the weeks to come.
In this post, we explore the subject of the child’s face mask and help you make one yourself.
Child face mask – should you wear one?
The World Health Organization, as well as many European and American authorities have said in the past that masks are not necessary unless someone has symptoms of the disease. As a reminder, most commonly, these are symptoms such as coughing and sneezing and fever. The idea behind this decision was twofold:
- That members of society do not contribute to the shortage of masks which was already felt head-on in many countries, including France.
- Second, unless the masks do not have a quality filter, they could not necessarily prevent people from being infected with the coronavirus. For example, authorities feared that wearing a respirator could give people a false sense of security. Masks are mainly used to prevent further spread of infected people.
How opinions on the wearing of respiratory masks have evolved
In light of several studies indicating that the coronavirus can be spread by people who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, authorities in Europe and the United States have changed their guidelines. In particular, they recommended that people start wearing respiratory protection masks in public. This is particularly the case in areas where social distance is difficult to maintain. Examples of this type of space can be shops, pharmacies, public transport … Masks are also strongly encouraged where there is a high attendance.
It is however important to remember that wearing respiratory masks is an additional preventive measure. This measure is not intended to replace barrier gestures, such as social distancing, maintaining sufficient distance between oneself and others, frequent hand washing and refraining from touching one’s face.
Homemade facial protection items have become a common alternative to protective masks sold in pharmacies. These solutions are made from everyday items, which is handy in countries where you can’t go out and not all stores are open. So, for example, you can use a bandana to make a simple and effective face mask without sewing.
How effective are homemade masks?
Obviously, when it comes to respiratory masks, the most effective way to avoid coronavirus infection is to wear a filter mask. However, these masks are in short supply. And they are desperately needed for frontline health care professionals. Even surgical masks are not recommended for the general public, as they are necessary for people in the medical field.
To protect the public while avoiding shortages, some authorities, such as those in the United States, have recommended that people wear a homemade face mask in public spaces. This recommendation is particularly valid for urban areas. Because, as we know, this is where we are in close contact with other people. They also work in public transport or in apartments.
As for reviews of homemade masks, their effectiveness is under discussion. Some researchers are concerned that cloth masks could potentially absorb viral particles instead of serving as a barrier. Also, not wearing a mask properly or removing it while ignoring the instructions could transfer the virus to the hands and face. Thus, it could even increase the risk of exposure to infection.
One study found that tissue masks only block about 3% of particles compared to surgical masks, which blocked 53% of particles. Meanwhile, high quality filter masks could block 99.9% of the particles. However, surgical masks cannot be used more than once. This, provided they are not sterilized with highly specialized equipment.
A homemade protective mask, is it better than no protection at all?
Another study is the one called the Cambridge study. She revealed that cloth masks made from T-shirts, pillowcases or tea towels filter out a third of all particles. So they would still be a better option than not wearing a protective mask at all. The researchers also noted that while masks reduce the likelihood of infection, they don’t completely eliminate the risk.
Therefore, according to the latest reviews, any mask will have a minimal successful effect if used in conjunction with other preventive measures such as social distance and good hygiene. Respiratory masks are in limited supply and necessary for people on the front line. So, wearing cloth masks seems to be the best option to protect yourself and those around you.
Moreover, the masks made of fabric are reusable and perfectly customizable. You can make one or more to have enough stock in case you need a spare. For your child’s face mask, you can choose a nice and fun fabric. In this way, you will invite your daughter or son to wear it.
How to make a child’s fabric mask
Health officials say cloth masks could slow the transmission of the coronavirus by preventing people infected with the virus from spreading the infection. Health authorities in the United States and around the world have recently published guides on how to make a protective mask at home. You can even use a bandana, a coffee filter and hair bands for this. Around the world, health authorities are urging the general public to start wearing purchased or homemade masks on each outing.
Depending on the country, children of different age groups are, for the time being, exempt from the obligation to wear a child’s face mask. However, these measures could evolve as they already are for the elderly. And then, even if a mandatory wearing of a child face mask does not exist everywhere, you can always choose to make one for your little one.
Some tips for making a simple child’s face mask
No subject is currently more controversial than wearing a protective mask against viruses and in particular against Covid-19. Certainly, WHO and specialists declare that these should only be worn by the sick and do not offer protection to healthy people. But many governments even demand to wear a protective mask. Some masks have even become a fashion trend and are worn voluntarily and proudly by more and more people. But what about our children? We want to do everything right when it comes to protecting our offspring. Below we explain if a mask is suitable for children and how you can make a child’s face mask.
Is making a child’s face mask harmless or not?
If a mask does not protect healthy people from the virus, why do the authorities recommend wearing a protective mask? The reason is very simple: some people who develop Covid-19 have very few or no symptoms. This means that these people are potentially contagious without even knowing it. In such cases, the mask must protect others.
You’ve probably also heard that a child’s face mask is nothing dangerous. But this is certainly not the case only for babies and toddlers under the age of three. For them, there is a risk of suffocation. This is why wearing a child face mask for the little ones is not recommended.
Besides, it is useful to follow the following principle: those who have respiratory problems or who cannot remove the mask themselves if necessary need not wear one.
By following this principle, you can decide for yourself whether wearing a child’s face mask is right for you and adapt to the way advice from health authorities evolves.
Important hygiene tips to remember on a child’s face mask
If you want to sew or buy a child’s face mask, it is important not to forget the hygiene side. Thorough hand washing according to the 20 second rule and regular disinfection of the house should not be neglected. Children should leave the house as rarely as possible during the confinement period.
Even if they do not belong to the risk group and the sick children have so far presented only mild symptoms, they can still transmit the virus and contaminate a risk group, such as, for example, the elderly. -parents. Also teach children not to touch their faces. This is of course not an easy task for the little ones, but still try to explain to them the importance of this rule.
Tutorial to make a child’s face mask
If you want to sew a child’s face mask, it is important to make sure that your creation is the right size. Your child’s face mask should not be too tight or too loose. Several layers of fabric are recommended for this type of project. Cotton is the most suitable fabric. You can also reuse it, provided it can be washed at 90 degrees and then ironed. In fact, washing at very high temperatures and ironing are scientifically proven ways to fight coronavirus.
A little tip to help kids play the game
It is particularly difficult for small children to wear such a mask. Therefore, the colored fabrics that appeal to the child are best suited. These are likely to seduce the little ones and attract them more. They could also help children accept to play the game of wearing a protective mask. The selection of fabrics is very wide these days. So you can definitely find something that suits bright colors and interesting patterns or prints.
Materials needed to make a child’s face mask:
- Cotton fabric
- Elastic band from 12 to 15 cm
- Sewing needle
- Filters (paper towels, coffee filters, etc.)
Steps to make a child’s face mask
Print the pattern of your choice by selecting a mask type in this link. By following this link, you will get two sizes. The small size is better for children under 5 and the larger size for children 5 to 9.
Provide two pieces for the back if you want to make a mask with filter.
The filter is slid inside. It plays the role of additional protection.
Homemade cloth masks can be reusable. For this, it is important to wash them at high temperature and iron them.
If you want to make a child face mask with filter, plan two pieces for the back (back) and one piece for the front (front). If you don’t choose a filter mask, two sides are enough.
Here are the manufacturing steps
- Bend your back
- Fold the back of the fabric and pin it on the front with pins
- Sew fabrics together
- Sew the fabrics together from right to right, then turn them over
- Fold the back of the DIY respiratory protection mask lengthwise in the middle.
- Place the folded fabrics on the front from right to right and pin them with pins.
- Sew all edges with the sewing machine and turn the fabric over.
- Now the patterned sides should be facing outward. The two short edges now need a hem through which the rubber is pulled.
- You only need to sew on the left and one on the right, about 1 cm from the edge.
To attach rubber bands to your child’s face mask:
- Halve the elastic, pass it through an appropriate needle and use it to guide the elastic through the newly sewn hem. Be careful not to accidentally remove the rubber from the needle.
- Then tie the two ends of the elastic in a knot. Then gather the fabric as in the photo and sew the elastic at the ends of the hem so that nothing slips. Repeat with the other side.
- If the elastic turns out to be too long, you can untie the knot and tighten it.
How to help your child play the mask game?
Now that you’ve made your child’s face mask, how can you help your child play the game? As you may have guessed, it will probably take a bit of work. Great advice, according to Atlanta-based pediatrician Jennifer Shu, M.D., is to make wearing a mask fun.
Opt for children’s favorite designs
“Give the kids a matching mask for a favorite doll or stuffed animal to wear,” she says. “Or make a superhero mask to go with their superhero outfit and let them dress for their trip out of the house.”
Ask the children to decorate their masks
Allowing children to decorate their own masks is another great way to wear them easily. This is an idea that has the added benefit of fostering a sense of autonomy in young children. Children will feel some control over the situation when the mask is something they have created themselves. Suddenly, they will be more likely to wear it.
Being a model parent
Most children turn to their parents for appropriate social cues. For this reason, modeling the wearing of the mask is important. In other words, you can show your kids how you wear your protective mask when going out. If outings are allowed in your area, you could also go out for two for a little while and teach your daughter or son how to wear their child’s face mask outside.
Explain the rules of the game
It is also important to practice wearing masks at home before going outside. So show your little one how to put on and take off the mask. Explain to him not to touch him and especially not to put his hands on his face after touching the mask. Standardizing the wearing of a mask in a low-risk situation is the best way to avoid accidental exposure around the world.
The most important thing to remember is that children can be asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus. This means that they can spread the virus without ever showing symptoms themselves. That’s why keeping them at home is the only foolproof way to prevent transmission and keep everyone safe.
Here are other ideas to explain to your child the importance of wearing a mask and help them wear one.