In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, masks will be required of everyone in NM except infants and children under the age of 3 in public places, with exceptions for eating and drinking, and medical requirements.
• The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend masks for children under the age of two. Children under 2 may have trouble breathing with a mask on and masks can be a possible choking or strangulation hazard. In addition, NM early childhood and pediatric experts believe children under 2 will have difficulty not touching their mask, and may not be developmentally able to understand the need for the mask; therefore we recommend masks for everyone 3 and over.
• Younger children may not understand why they cannot run up toward other people or touch things they shouldn’t, so the recommended approach is to keep them home and in spaces away from other people and common surfaces.
• When you return home, the mask should be removed.
• For mask purposes, childcare centers are considered public places and children 3 and over should wear masks if possible.
• Children with severe cognitive or respiratory impairments may have a hard time tolerating a face mask, so special precautions may be needed with these children. These children may need to maintain greater physical distance from others or may need special equipment to monitor their oxygen levels (e.g. pulse oximeter).
• Children with fever or respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms like a cough, congestion, runny nose, diarrhea, or vomiting should not leave home. Parents/Guardians should contact their primary provider or nurse hotline to discuss these symptoms.
• If you must go outside or to a place where you are not able to practice social distancing with an infant, cover infant carrier with a blanket, which helps protect the baby, but still gives them the ability to breathe comfortably. Do not leave the blanket on the carrier in the car or at any time when the baby and carrier are not in direct view.

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