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Warning about face masks for toddlers and babies 

Masks might be compulsory in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, but that doesn’t include babies and toddlers under two years old. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warned parents this week about retailers marketing face masks for babies and toddlers.

“Do not buy those products”

“Toddlers should not be wearing masks,” he said. “Kids 12 and up should be. But under that age, they’re not required to. Do not buy those products. Do not use those products.”

Echoing this, both the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics say children under two, or anyone who has trouble breathing should not wear a face mask. 

This is because babies have much smaller airways than adults, so wearing a mask can make it difficult to breathe. 

As for toddlers, the chances of them wearing a face mask without touching it is slim. 

Speaking to Popsugar, Dr Chitra Akileswaran, the cofounder of Cleo, a resource for working parents said, “Children are at more risk of contaminating their masks due to touching them, moving them, and not having them on correctly.

“Given that children are overall at low risk for both acquiring and getting very sick from COVID-19, it may be OK to be more liberal about not masking children.”

How can you protect babies and toddlers from COVID-19?

The best way to keep your children safe is through social distancing and limiting contact with the public. If you do need to go out with your baby, have them facing you in their baby carrier or stroller. 

If using a stroller, you could cover it with a rain cover or light blanket, making sure you can see them and they can still breathe easily. When you get home, wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before taking your baby out of the carrier, car seat or pram. 

If you have a question about COVID-19, you can call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

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