Considering the recent announcement that WA will be moving to level 2 restrictions, which include children from Years 3-6 having to wear masks in all public indoor settings, Dial-A-Doctor would like to offer some guidance and useful links on how best to prepare your child.
Most data in regard to the effectiveness of mask wearing was taken pre Omicron, however,
there is no data to suggest that mask wearing works less well against Omicron than
previous variants. Some data from the USA shows that:
Wearing any type of mask halved the chance of contracting COVID-19.
Schools where students didn’t wear masks were nearly 4 times more likely to experience a COVID-19 outbreak.
The best mask for any to wear is one that is comfortable enough for your child to all
Surgical masks and cloth masks tend to be the better option for children as they are more comfortable to wear. Cloth masks come in lots of different designs which can be more enticing to young children and are generally able to be washed and reused. However, they do provide the least protection compared to other masks and if your child does prefer a cloth mask, then three ply is recommended as appears to be more effective than single or two ply.
Surgical masks can only be used once, however, due to the lightness they are generally considered more comfortable which may help your child to continue to wear it throughout the day. The are considered more effective than most cloth masks.
A Particle Filter Respirator or PFR mask, more commonly known as P2 or N95 masks are considered to offer the most protection as they are designed to form a tight seal on the face, only allowing air to get in and out through the material. It would be difficult to get a good fit for most young children and they would likely not tolerate the tightness for prolonged periods.
Although there are no studies in children, other studies indicate that any mask is better than no mask.
The Telethon Kids Institute resources are designed to help families
Their resources include advice from Institute scientists for staying physically and mentally healthy during COVID-19, insights for kids dealing with unique health challenges, cyber safety guidance for parents as our kids spend more time online, and tips, activities, and community engagement news for the whole family.
Research Topic: COVID-19 (telethonkids.org.au)
Further information on face masks, correct fitting, and disposal of can be found using the links below:
Information for consumers - COVID-19 and face masks (safetyandquality.gov.au)
Face masks (healthywa.wa.gov.au)
Face masks and federal discrimination law | Australian Human Rights Commission