Nowadays, experts recommend children wear masks when they are older than 2 years old. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), children aged 5 years and under should not be forced to wear masks. Most of the places have similar rules but nevertheless, the messages are unclear and confusing. Do we know enough about children and masks before we set up the rule? Especially when we are under such new and unprecedented times, where access to public places and schools become limited and children are forced to change their lifestyle, how do we make sure children get the protection they need? The biggest challenge here lies in whether we should mask our children as a way to keep them away from viruses.
Many parents, educators, and doctors are starting to report health problems in children and adolescents wearing masks. As of today, there is no registry for side effects of masks and no manufacturer studies on children’s use of medical masks that are purposely designed for professional application. Furthermore, there is also no discovery about the potential effects of homemade masks worn by the majority of kids. As the pandemic continues, parents who find themselves needing to take their children in public, are expected to mask their child over a long period. Hence, there is an urgent need for researching such matters.
Recently, a German study involving 25,000 children revealed research about the negative effects of children wearing masks. In this study, parents, doctors, pedagogues, and others were invited to enter their observations and they found that 68% of the parents reported impairments caused by wearing a mask. Some symptoms involved irritability, headache, difficulty concentrating, malaise, impaired learning, and fatigue. The research called for actions in studying the topic and conducting randomized controlled assessments to evaluate the benefits and risks of various masks.
There are also critiques about the limitation of the German study’s design. An article from Health Feedback claimed that the method employed by the study cannot demonstrate a relationship between an adverse reaction and children wearing masks as it was solely based on surveys from parents and did not account for confounding factors, such as pre-existing illness.
Although there is scientific evidence that supports the use of face masks to minimize the spread of COVID-19, no scientific study supports specifically how safe wearing a mask is for a child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) tackled some of the common concerns and explained that children wearing cloth face masks will not interfere with a child’s oxygen intake or lung development. They also claim that cloth face coverings are crucial for protection against COVID-19 and that they are safe for children over the age of 2.
However, Dr. Margarite Griesz-Brisson, a well-known neurologist and neuropsychologist stated that children wearing masks experience oxygen deprivation and it can inhibit the development of the brain. She further demonstrated that the lost nerve cells in the brain will no longer be regenerated and the damage that has taken place cannot be reversed.
Take the time to think and assess the debates you have just read, it is difficult to decide who to believe. The truth is, parents now need to be more cautious than ever. Ultimately, we all want our children to be safe and it is crucial that parents do their research before they force their children to wear a mask. No matter which side you stand for, one thing you should know is that you can always choose another way to protect your children by teaching them to practice precautionary measures such as frequent handwashing, sanitizing, and physical distancing. As an organization that values the importance of the next generation, we always try our best to write informative blogs for our readers. If you like to continue to receive useful content about children’s education, subscribe to our newsletter here. If you would also like to support us, we greatly appreciate your donation.
By Maria Chen
Photo by muthengi mbuvi on Unsplash