A small new study out of Italy found that children as young as four months old did not experience any respiratory change as a result of wearing a surgical mask, raising questions about mask advice for young children.
The study, published Tuesday in JAMA Network Open, looked at 47 children between the ages of four months and 12 years, and measured their breathing while wearing surgical masks during normal play activities and light exercise.
“These findings may help promote the use of surgical masks among children, especially in view of the reopening of schools,” the study stated.
While governments and health officials recommend the wearing of face masks for almost everyone as an essential step in fighting the spread of COVID-19, there’s one population exempt from this: infants and very young children.
In Canada, “children under the age of 2 should not wear masks,” according to the government’s website.
“Between the ages of 2 and 5, children may be able to wear a mask if supervised,” the guidelines state. “This will depend on their ability to tolerate it as well as put it on and take it off.”
The age at which children are required to wear masks in school varies by province, with most requiring Grade 1 and up to wear them. Next week, Quebec will be changing mask-wearing requirements to Grade 1 and up. Prior to this change, students below Grade 5 were not required to wear masks.
Read more: Children as young as four months can wear masks without respiratory distress, study suggests