A Japan medical group has warned parents against making children under the age of two wear masks because they can make breathing difficult and increase the risk of choking. The group has made an urgent appeal to parents as the country reopens from the COVID-19 crisis.
On Monday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a state of emergency for Tokyo and four remaining areas after the number of coronavirus infections decreased across Japan. However, he warned that lockdown restrictions could be reimposed if the novel virus starts spreading again.
Health experts worldwide are suggesting people wear masks for containing the spread as many countries prepare to reopen after weeks of lockdown. Groceries and essential shops across the globe have made it mandatory for customers to wear masks, without which they are denied entry. While social distancing will be difficult to practice once countries lift lockdown restrictions, masks may help in containing the spread of the highly infectious virus.
But the Japan Pediatric Association has warned parents that masks are too risky for infants. “Masks can make breathing difficult because infants have narrow air passages,” which increases the burden on their hearts, the association said, adding that masks also raise the risk of heat stroke for them.
“Let’s stop the use of masks for children under 2-years-old,” the association said in a notice on its website.
The deadly coronavirus, which first emerged in the Chinse city of Wuhan last December, has so far infected more than 5 million people globally. The resulting lockdown from the pandemic has caused immeasurable damage to both human life and the economy. With business activities coming to a standstill, millions have lost their jobs and are now on the verge of poverty.