The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued updated guidelines for the use of face coverings and coronavirus testing protocols for children.
The AAP is now advising parents that masks can be safely worn by all children age 2 and older — including the vast majority of children with underlying health conditions — with rare exception.
“Children are incredibly adaptable and resilient,” said AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP, in a statement. “Just like children understand that they must wear bicycle helmets and buckle into their car seats, they will come to learn to wear masks routinely when necessary.”
As parents prepare to send their children to school and into childcare settings, cloth face coverings should be part of their new normal, Goza said. “This virus is going to be with us for some time, and face coverings are a proven, effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Cloth face coverings protect children and also significantly reduce the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and other respiratory infections within schools and other community settings, as well as in the home, according to the AAP guidance.
In COVID-19 testing guidance, the AAP recommends children be tested only under scenarios that indicate the need for a test: when a child is showing symptoms of the disease, when a child who has been in close contact with a person confirmed to have the infection, or when a child is scheduled for elective surgery.