Fact Check: Are face masks dangerous for children?

Quick Take

A TikTok video also popular on other social media platforms claim that face masks create dangerous levels of carbon dioxide for children. We fact-checked and found that the claim is half true.

The Claim

The TikTok video shows a child wearing a face mask with a device taking readings. The video text reads, “”CO2 levels in a child’s mask, unmask your kids.” The user post reads, “any Carbon Dioxide concentrations above 2000ppm is (sic) dangerous!” The archived version of the video can be seen here.

Fact Check

Can masks cause build up of Carbon Dioxide in children?

No. A right mask is completely safe for children. However, the keyword is “right”.

Most authority bodies advocate usage of masks during the pandemic. CDC has earlier debunked the claim that wearing masks can lead to build up of Carbon Dioxide and recommends, “everyone 2 years of age or older who is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask in indoor public places.”

That said, most experts we consulted, suggested to be careful about the kind of masks we put on a child.

Dr. Smarajit Maiti

Dr. Smarajit Maiti (Paediatrician) mentions, “Masks without respiratory valve is not advisable for children. If an adult can fall prey to Hypoxia due to mask, a child can too. It is necessary to ensure you are buying a mask with well ventilation facility for your child. As for babies, masks are not a feasible option. It can lead to dangerous situation like suffocation if goes unnoticed. Rather, hygiene and proper protection of the care givers, maintenance of cough protocol and off course awareness may be helpful.”

Dr. Sanjeev Jain, Pulmonologist, says, “Any mask that a person wears should be used as a barrier and not as a sealant. It should allow intermittent passage of fresh air. The ambient environment, flow of air in the room can contribute to the availability of Oxygen or build up of CO2.”

So, while masks do not contribute to build up of Carbon Dioxide, choosing a right size or right material mask is important. It is not recommended to put a tight mask on a child inside a closed room for long time.

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