From One Parent to Another – Your Kids Don’t Need to be 6 Years Old to Wear a Mask
2 October 2020 was Children’s Day. This year, we spent it in an isolation room at Thomson Medical. Ian, my 1 year old boy who had come down with persistent high fever of 40 degrees, was diagnosed with pneumonia and was recommended to do the covid swab.
The minute they admitted him, we were brought to an isolation room where we had to wait for the results of the covid test. The result was expected to come back in 1 to 2 days. As I was the only one allowed to be with him, his daddy was asked to leave. Should we need anything from home, my husband will have to pass them to a staff who will then bring it to us.
Ian did not take it well when daddy left because he wanted to leave. It broke my heart when he screamed and looked to me for help when the swab was being done.
We spent the night in this room where medical staff came in only after putting on disposable gowns, rubber gloves and disposable caps. Masks were already in place since it is mandatory. Ian was terribly frightened every time they came in. The moment he sees them through the window of the door, he would cling on to me tightly.
It was a long night for me because I was extremely worried about the Covid test results. There were so many thoughts going through my head that kept me awake. What if Ian had Covid? How was he going to endure the 14 days isolation when he cannot stand being confined to a room with nothing to do? How am I going to cope with him clinging on to me 24/7? We had sent my elder child to be with his grandparents. What if he brought the virus to them? The last thought being my greatest fear since our parents are more vulnerable. Holding on to my child sleeping on my chest, I prayed very hard.
The results came back earlier than expected. By next morning, his test result came back showing – Negative. He was asleep when the nurse came to tell me we can transfer to the normal ward, but I asked for some time since Ian was asleep. Truth is, I needed some time alone because I was so relieved that I wanted to cry. I am usually not an emotional person, but this was beyond my threshold.
The big question – how did Ian get pneumonia when everyone at home was well?
After the circuit breaker, we have been staying home most of the time except supermarket run on some days. It took us a long time before we brought the kids out to play after Covid came into our lives. In fact, my elder child, Isaac, only returned to school 2 months after the circuit breaker. I had thought since that damn Covid is going to be around for God knows how long, we should learn to adapt to the safety measures if we go out. Everything should be ok, right? Wrong.
We brought our boys (aged 5 and 1) out last weekend to play. It was an open area, no crowd. Both my children were playing when a random kid ran over and started coughing near them. Isaac pulled Ian and ran to me saying angrily, “wah that boy cough at us, never wear mask some more. He wants us to get Covid!”. I looked at the child. He is about 4 to 5 years of age without a mask on. Who was I to say anything since the new legal age to wear a mask is now 6? The next day, Ian started coughing and fell very ill.
In my opinion, even though the legal age to wear a mask has been revised to 6 years old, I feel that as long as my child can keep his mask on, I will have him put on the mask regardless of how young he is. When the revision of age was announced, I was seriously hoping that Isaac’s classmates will still go to school with their masks on. Wearing a mask protects not only him, but also others. I say this because my 1-year-old cannot keep the mask or face shield on. Unless I keep him home 24/7 till Covid is gone, it will never be safe for him to go out.
That said, we should not only adhere to such practices during this pandemic. We should continue to be responsible even after Covid is long gone. As long as someone is ill, regardless of what illness, please just stay at home. If you have to go out to see a doctor or for whatever reasons, please use a mask. A slight cough that you have, may manifest differently for people with a weaker immune system. It may even become life threatening. Let’s all be responsible beings and spare a thought for others.