Preparing And Protecting Our Children From The Haze

Every time the haze is upon Singapore, parents, especially those with young children, have to find means and ways to protect our children. We watch the PSI and now, the PM2.5 numbers like eagles, trying to plan the daily programmed based on these numbers.

Some of us question the 3hr reports from NEA and wonder what good it is because there are times when our eyes see worse than what the numbers reflect. Thanks to a friend, I am now using another website for hourly updates on the air pollution numbers. I just need to swipe the webpage to the left to choose which part of Singapore I am in to get a more accurate reading.

Other than looking at numbers, my husband and I have finally decided to get an air purifier. Both our kids had high fever at the beginning of this year’s haze (the PD attributed the haze as one of the causes) and we decided that investing in a good machine to protect our children is important. 

While the best way to protect our children from the haze is to keep them indoors, there are times when we have no choice but to leave our home for a while. My five year old still goes to preschool. I still have to do grocery shopping so that we have  food at home.

The only way to protect my children when we have to go out is by making them wear masks. 

Since the haze started this year, I have bought three different brands of masks for my children. After trying again and again, I now know what works for them and what doesn’t.

   
 This was the first brand of masks I bought for my children because I had thought that I needed cute pictures and nice colours to entice them to wear the masks.

 

My plan worked. Not only was Phoebie wearing the mask, my 17 months old Breyen wanted to wear one too because his sister was wearing it.

It was easy for Phoebie to wear it herself but it was also easy for Breyen to yank the mask off. It was a little big for both Phoebie and Breyen and didn’t provide a good fit. The material is also rather thin, so the protection it provides is rather minimal.

 

This was the second batch of masks I bought for my children. While the material was a little thicker than the first one, it also failed to provide a good fit.

   
 This is the third brand I have purchased and has provided the best fit and probably the best protection too. 

The first smart mask Phoebie had was given by my best friend. 

 

Before buying, we used the box to measure the fit on the children’s faces to make sure we got the correct size for them.

   

 The mask is thick enough to provide the protection our children need, and has a ventilator at the side to make breathing easier. The filter on the ventilator is also changeable. This mask is also definitely more durable than the previous two my children have tried. 

  The mask also comes with a buckle on the strap, so that the tightness can be adjusted.
This is definitely the best mask I have gotten got my children so far.

   
 To secure the masks on my children, I have to make sure the elastic brand holds well on their heads. 

While I can adjust for Breyen (since he is with me all day), I have to make sure that the elastic band holds well for Phoebie while she is away from me. I  decided to tie her hair such that the elastic band can sit nicely above the rubber band tied to her hair.

Because this mask is not as easy to put on as the other two brands, I also made sure I taught Phoebie how to wear it on her own. 

   
 I got her to practice in front of the mirror and taught her how to feel for the elastic band and adjust it properly.

As for Breyen, while I am thankful that he is willing to wear a mask, he usually wants to yank it off after 10 to 15 minutes. So the best way to protect him is still to keep him indoors as much as possible.

Let’s all hope the haze ends soon so that our children can enjoy outdoors activities again.

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