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Getting your child to wear a mask

Students in Washoe County will be required to wear face coverings once school starts and parents still have time to prepare them
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 10:37 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s an exciting time at Hollylocks, where owner Lacey Stultz is getting kids ready to start the school year off with a stylish new haircut. But that’s not all she’s offering these days.

”We have parents coming in all the time asking for children’s masks,” said Stultz. “People need them so we have them.”

The hair salon and boutique for kids has got a selection of different mask styles and patterns, so that a child can find just the right one to fit his or her personality. Parents like Angie Wood, who brought her four-year-old son Zeke in for a haircut says having options and allowing choices are important for kids.

”I think just having a little bit of ownership, he gets to decide,” she said. “Today he picked Spider-man, so yeah, I think it helps him.”

Doctors agree.

”They’ll be more excited about wearing it,” said Dr. Kristen Nork, a family physician at Northern Nevada Hopes.

She believes mask wearing does not have to feel like a mandate for kids. She says there are several things parents can do to make wearing face coverings fun and something children look forward to. But it starts with parents setting an example.

”Parents can be good role models and wear masks themselves,” said Dr. Nork. “Kids will follow their lead."

She also recommends families have practice sessions-- making sure kids are able to put them on themselves and take them off. She says getting their favorite stuffed animals involved can also help the younger kids get into it.

”Putting masks on the kids’ toys is one way to make it fun and again, more normal for them to see,” she said.

She also says having children wear the masks they picked out around the house while doing everyday things like reading a book or talking on the phone will get them more accustomed to the feeling of wearing something over their nose and mouth. And while kids may initially say it’s hard to breathe with a mask-- especially when they’re running around-- Dr. Nork says they’re safe during physical activity.

”Masks allow air to flow inside,” said Dr. Nork. “They allow oxygen to come in and allow the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide to not build up. So it can feel a little ‘smothery’ when you’re taking these breaths, but when we measure peoples’ oxygen levels, they stay completely normal unless they are holding their breath. There is not going to be any toxic buildup, it’s just a feeling that they need to get used to.”

Dr. Nork says while there are a lot of different mask options for kids out there, the best mask for your child is the one he or she is going to wear.

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