The American Academy of Pediatrics on Thursday released three new sets of guidances on cloth face coverings for children, testing protocols for children, and personal protective equipment for pediatric medical providers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
On face coverings: The AAP advises that cloth face coverings can be safely worn by all children over age 2. Apart from rare exceptions, children with underlying health conditions can safely wear face coverings, which both protect the children and reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the community.
“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,” AAP President Dr. Sally Goza said in a news release announcing the new guidance. “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. As parent prepare to send their children to school and into childcare settings, cloth face coverings should be part of their new normal.”
On testing: The testing guidance offers recommendations to help providers determine when to test for Covid-19.
Scenarios that indicate the need for a test include children with symptoms, children who have been in close contact with someone with confirmed Covid-19, or those having elective surgery.
Due to the similarities in symptoms between flu and the coronavirus, it may be necessary to test to confirm a diagnosis of Covid-19. Having an understanding of the community spread of Covid-19 could help providers make the decision to test or not, the guidance says.
The guidance also offers details on things such as the types of tests that are available, and how to counsel families after receiving results.
On PPE: The guidance for PPE says that protocols for all practices should include appropriate levels of PPE, hand hygiene, cleaning of equipment and physical facilities, and efforts to promote physical distancing as much as possible. Staff at increased risk for severe Covid-19 should be offered the most protective level of PPE.
All facilities should have written protocols that are consistent with federal state and local guidelines.
Among other things, it also says that health care workers may also consider increasing their level of PPE when performing procedures that may produce spit, tears, gags or coughs, according to the guidance.