Face masks and children

Decisions about mask use in children should be based on the best interest of the child. Children need to continue to be able to play, go to school, and go about their everyday activities. These activities are an important part of child development and health.

No child should be denied access to school or activities because of lack of a mask.

Face masks should not be used for children ages 5 years and under.

Wearing a face mask in this age group can put babies and children at serious risk of harm or death:

  • Babies and young children have smaller airways so breathing through a mask is harder for them
  • Masks could increase the risk of suffocation because they are harder to breathe through
  • Babies are unable to remove the mask should they have trouble breathing
  • Infants could be at risk of becoming tangled, especially if they try to remove a mask, potentially causing serious injury
  • Older infants or young toddlers are not likely to keep the mask on and will touch their face more to try and remove it.

Visit the World Health Organization website for questions and answers on children and face masks.

Visit the Healthier Together page for further information on Covid-19.


This guidance has been reviewed and adapted by healthcare professionals across West Yorkshire with consent from the Hampshire development groups.