Lots of us got our older kids vaccinated for COVID before going back to school and there is some comfort in that.  Now my concern is focused on my 11 year old little one.  She is not eligible for the vaccine and it's time to go back to school for the first time in a year and a half.  All we have are masks to protect our little ones against the variant and I just realized I have no idea what I'm doing.

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Shannon Holly's daughter Fia with all kinds of masks
Shannon Holly's daughter Fia with all kinds of masks Photo credit: Shannon Holly

I thought I was having a good mom moment when I found a pack of cloth masks that would match all my daughter's outfits and making them fun to wear.  You have to appeal to a kid's sense of fun to get them to comply when you are not around. They were washable and came is cute colors and patterns so I was pretty pleased with myself.  Then I got some knowledge dropped on me.

My BFF of over 20 years, Manny, who always seems to be on top of everything, gave me a reality check. He told me that wearing cloth masks were laughable...(side note... you know you're really tight with someone when they can start a message with "it's not rocket science" and you are not even a little bit offended)  Here's his take:

Text from Shannon's friend Manny
Text from Shannon's friend Manny

Note taken. Fine. The cloth masks will be for teddy bears and dolls and not little humans.

After that exchange, I hunted down kid-sized KN95 masks and bought a case of those.  They're crisp and white just like my daughter's back to school sneakers. Ahhh, this will keep her safe, right? Mom mic drop.


Not so fast.

My other friend, a mom in the pharmaceutical world, told me that kid KN95 masks would not be sustainable for a child for the long school day. "Shan, they're difficult for grown ups, what makes you think kids can keep those things on all day, everyday?"

Good point. I want my daughter to breath.  Forget the KN95s.

Then my husband chimes in..."isn't breathing in your own carbon dioxide an asphyxiant? I get that she has to wear a mask but shouldn't there be an air valve?"

Of course! Air valve!  Asphyxiant = bad.  An air valve is the perfect compromise.  New plan:  Get kid KN95 masks with an air valve...maybe even an extra valve if that's a thing.

I buy a case of air valve masks and my neighbor sees them on the table and says, "hey what's with the valve? You know, that's like a "front door" for the virus. Why even wear a mask?"

OMG.  A front door for the virus? That sounds like I should put a welcome matt in front of my daughter's face and invite Aunt Delta into her nasal passage for a visit.

The same neighbor sees the look of defeat on my face and says, "Look, I'm just gonna double-mask my kid with the cloth ones...do that and she'll be good".

Double mask? Now I'm back at square one at twice the price and no air flow. Super.  Well, hang on...what about those blue surgical masks? Is that the ticket?

They seem easy to breath in and people is hospitals use those.  They are healthcare professionals.  If it's good enough for Derek Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy, it's good enough for us....or so I thought:

Great. So this one only works if everyone does it...I have zero control over that.

Another important consideration with masks is the fit.  If it is too hard to wear, it will end up being a chin diaper anyway. So what is the solution? I would love to know what you decided on for your kids under 12. Help a mama out, and stay safe!  Shannon@943thepoint.com

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