Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID?

Among the unfounded arguments: Masks can foster germs if they become moist or cause unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide. But experts say washing masks routinely keeps them safe and clean.

Some argue that young children miss important visual and social cues that enhance learning and development when their classmates and teachers are wearing masks. But others note that children with vision or hearing impairment learn to adapt and that other kids can, too.

“We don’t know for sure that masks have no developmental effects but we do know that there are adverse effects from not trying to stop transmission,” said Dr. Emily Levy, a critical care and infection control expert at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center.

There’s strong evidence masking children in schools can reduce COVID-19 transmission to other children and adults.