‘Hazardous’ children’s masks selling online
Rogue designers chasing a "quick buck" are creating and selling face masks with in-built dummies for young children, sparking choking and suffocation concerns.
The "hazardous" masks are being sold online on Facebook marketplace amid the state's wild spread of coronavirus and Melbourne's dreaded plunge into strict stage four lockdown.
Melbourne mother-of-three and Mamma and the Doc co-author Maria Ligerakis also discovered the homemade masks with an attached dummy and masks made from socks with "loose strings and elastic".
She conducted further research and found 60 per cent of 37 parents surveyed had used face masks on their children between the age of two and 12 despite the chief health officer saying they weren't recommended for young children.
"Parents are doing everything they can to prioritise and protect the health and wellbeing of their children against a backdrop of so much uncertainty, angst and concern in the world at the moment," Ms Ligerakis said.
"The last thing they need is to see products that could be potentially dangerous and unsafe being marketed online in response to the current COVID-19 crisis.
"This can create even more stress, confusion and worry."
Murdoch Children's Research Institute professor of paediatrics Frank Oberklaid slammed the poor designs as "dangerous and ridiculous".
"There are good reasons why children are being told not to wear masks," he said.
"There is a reasonable consensus children don't get COVID-19 as much and when they do it's a very low viral load. They aren't considered as spreaders.
"Homemade masks can cause damage - they can lead to physical injury and kids could get tangled in them."
Prof Oberklaid said young children only needed to don masks when in highly infectious situations.
"I can understand parents are anxious about this, but unless your kid is in a highly infectious situation they don't need masks at all," he said.
"There have only been a couple of admissions of young children with coronavirus to hospital in Victoria, but it's very uncommon."