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Kids and Masks: Why Cloth Face Coverings are Needed in Youth Sports During COVID-19

Kids and Masks: Why Cloth Face Coverings are Needed in Youth Sports During COVID-19 Kids and Masks: Why Cloth Face Coverings are Needed in Youth Sports During COVID-19

​Part of being on a team is defending and protecting your teammates. One of the best ways that athletes can do this is to wear a mask or cloth face covering to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 through respiratory droplets. It is important that families of young athletes understand their risk and know how to protect themselves.

Cloth face coverings help young athletes protect their teammates and themselves. They also help protect the sports season. Whenever safe and possible, athletes should wear a cloth face covering. Exceptions include when they are actively exercising.

Here's a rundown on what you need to know about kids and masks during sports​

​​Athletes should wear a cloth face covering over t​he nose ​and mouth and stay 6 feet apart when:

  • On the sideline bench or in dugouts.

  • Participating in team chats​​​​.

  • Going to and from the field, court, gym, pool, etc.

Cloth face coverings are particularly import​ant when:

  • It is not possible to stay at least 6 feet apart.

  • There is prolonged, close contact.

  • In groups.

  • Indoors.

Face coverings should never be worn when performing:

  • Water sports.

  • Sports where coverings could pose an injury risk by getting caught on equipment or accidentally covering eyes.

Make cloth face coverings a habit

Wearing a cloth face covering may feel different at first. Here are some ways you can help your kids get used to them:

  • Find a cloth face covering that your child can put on and take off themselves. Make sure it covers their nose and mouth and is comfortable for them to wear.

  • Have your child practice wearing it while doing drills or playing their sport before the season starts.

  • Have a special place to store the cloth face covering. For example, your child might keep it in the same spot in their sports bag when they are not wearing it.

Keep it clean

  • Just like you should sanitize sports equipment before and after each use, wash cloth face coverings daily in hot water.

  • Do not reuse cloth face coverings until they have been cleaned.

Set a good example

Coaches, officials, volunteers and spectators are also encouraged to protect themselves and others by wearing a cloth face covering. By doing this, they are also setting a good example for young athletes. Coaches should wear cloth face coverings when interacting with athletes. Spectators should wear cloth face coverings, especially when indoors or when physical distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained.

More Information

Along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, this information was developed jointly by:​


Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2020)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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