Children and Smoke Exposure: Keeping Them Safe Inside
As the wildfires continue to rage on, parents are wondering how to protect their kids.
Most would say to go out and buy a mask.
However, Courtney Shockley, a pediatrician at the Community Health of Central Washington, said to save your money as cloth and N95 masks actually do not protect children from the smoke.
“N95 masks are really the only thing that is going to keep the small particles of smoke out, but that isn’t really made for kids. It’s really not going to be helpful because it’s not sealing around that mouth and nose,” Shockley said.
Breathing in the poor air can have lasting impressions in kid’s bodies due to their small airways, Shockley said.
She recommended keeping everyone inside with the doors and windows fully shut as the safest protection plan.
“Once we reach those [hazardous] levels, then really all kids are at risk — all kids, all adults, everyone.”
Shockley also said to reach out to your regular doctor if you notice your child “coughing a lot, having problems walking or talking, breathing with their ribs and belly muscles and not acting normally.”
She also said to limit exposure to other kinds of irritants in the home such as cigarette smoke, fireplaces, and smoke produced from cooking foods like bacon.
Parents should also continuously check to make sure their air quality inside is clean as well.
“Kids often deal with natural disasters differently than adults. Be on the lookout and stay safe.”