As COVID-19 continues to spread around the United States and the rest of the world, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to stay healthy and protect those around you.

This includes washing your hands frequently, practicing physical distancing, and wearing a face covering, such as a cotton fabric face mask, when out in public.

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That last one is just as important as the rest, as mask-wearing has shown to be a critical tool in reducing the spread of COVID-19 — especially when used universally within communities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source.

And while wearing a mask yourself is an important part of preventing the spread of COVID-19, you might be wondering if your child should have a face covering of their own. The short answer? Yes.

Children over the age of 2 should be wearing face masks in public, according to the CDC Trusted Source and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), especially in situations where physical distancing is difficult.

Just like with adults, face coverings are not necessarily as effective in preventing kids from contracting COVID-19, as much as they are in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking, and a cloth face-covering acts as a barrier to help prevent the spread of those respiratory droplets.

It’s also important to remember that while masks are a step in the right direction, the most effective way to protect your family from COVID-19 is by staying home and limiting your interactions with folks outside of your household as much as possible.