A specialist paediatrician known as Dr Natalie Epton, has come forward to advise parents in Singapore not to make their young children wear the N95 mask. According to Asia One, the child specialist says:
“There is currently no N95 mask that is approved for use in young children.”
In fact, Dr. Epton even goes on to say that the mask might have an adverse effect of making breathing become more laboured for children who have breathing difficulties and are already affected by the haze.
While the N95 mask has been widely recommended for use amongst adults and teens, the specialist says that the utility of the mask on children is dependent on factors such as the size of the child and his or her face. Surgical masks on the other hand, have little to no use in countering the effects of the haze.
Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) has also acknowledged this as they have noted that there is no current international certification standards for the use of masks by children.
Instead of emphasizing on wearing masks, the MOE focuses on keeping children indoors to avoid exposure to the hazardous weather. A spokesman from MOE says that:
“The key precaution for children to take during haze is to minimise prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion when the forecast air quality is in the unhealthy range, and to avoid outdoor activity when the forecast air quality is in the very unhealthy range.”
In Singapore, classrooms of education institutions such as primary, secondary, special education schools and kindergartens are equipped with air purifiers for use when the air quality hits its very unhealthy range.
“Therefore, masks are not necessary, even for examinations which are conducted in enclosed indoor spaces with air purifiers.”
However, when the issue of whether masks were necessary for children was brought up online, parents seemed to have differing views.
A Facebook user known as, Ms Tan, said that students who actively participated in outdoor activities during hot weather could potentially develop rashes and skin conditions.
Another user said she rushed to buy a purifier for her one-year-old baby when the haze conditions reportedly got worse. Nonetheless, she does not think masks are necessary for school children at the current time.
What do you guys think of this? Should Malaysia implement the necessity of having air purifiers as well? And if so, does that mean kids shouldn’t have to wear masks? Let us know in the comments below.
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