Expert's guidelines say kids should wear mask during sports

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Between baseball, swimming and soccer, boy mom Elizabeth Razo stays busy with her 5 and 7-year-old sons. She says if her kids are forced to wear masks while playing sports, they won't participate.

"These kids, they are running the whole hour," Razo said. "They are out there running, sweating and it's already difficult as it is. I can't imagine them being out there with a mask."

According to new guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Kids should wear a cloth face covering while playing most sports, during group training and competition, the new guidance states. Children should also cover their faces while on the sidelines, on the bench or in the dugout.

Kelsey Seybold Pediatrician Pam Sanders says an exemption is individual outdoor sports.

"That would be singles tennis and golf so in those settings people not necessarily close to others," Dr. Sanders said.

RELATED: Tips to get kids comfortable wearing masks

She says a big concern for parents is that their kids could breathe in carbon dioxide while running with their mask.

"That has circulated around ever since the mask recommendation came out, and it's actually been well studied since then, measuring oxygen and carbon dioxide levels as people are exercising, and really, that is not the case," Sanders said. "It is a very safe thing."

Kathy Artiga says her daughter is 13 years old and plays volleyball on a national team in Willowbrook. Artiga says she happily wears a mask while playing.

She lost her grandfather to COVID-19 just a few weeks ago.

"As a family, I think because we have had a loss with someone that ended up getting corona, just for us to have a peace of mind because again, she's still around other people but she has that mask," Artiga said. I feel like her protection level is a lot higher."

The AAP says a few sports are excluded from this recommendation, including swimming and other water sports, cheer stunts and tumbling, wrestling and gymnastics.

Dr. Sanders says that's because a mask could become a choking hazard in the water or obstruct a child's view and become dangerous while doing things like tumbling during gymnastics.

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