One condition of children attending summer camps across the country is often that they wear masks to inhibit possible spread of the COVID-19 virus. Some school districts have already said they plan to do the same when the next academic year begins. At the same time, some parents claim that forcing their kids to wear masks is not only excessive compared with the actual risk to children, but that such a practice actually puts them in danger for breathing problems. An article just published in JAMA Pediatrics and based on research by a team of German physicians revealed that wearing a nose and mouth covering does, in fact, increase a child’s exposure to carbon dioxide to an unacceptable level per guidelines established by the German Federal Environmental Office. While “the normal content of carbon dioxide in the open is about 0.04% by volume,” children wearing a mouth and nose covering experienced a level of 0.2% by volume. Measurements were taken using two different types of covers. While the damage likely to be incurred was not quantified, the authors noted that such exposure “leads…to impairments attributable to hypercapnia….We suggest that decision-makers weigh the hard evidence produced by these experimental measurements accordingly, which suggest that children should not be forced to wear face masks.”
Many Summer Camps Require Masks; Schools May Follow Suit in the Fall. Is This Safe for Kids?