If family and loved ones came to visit, they might have insisted on wearing masks around your newborn, even if you didn’t require it. Follow those early days with pediatrician visits, grocery store trips, and perhaps daycare enrollment. By the first two years of their life, your child has seen more faces in masks than they have without.
It’s one thing to be in the early, uncertain days of a pandemic and truly believe we’re keeping ourselves and our children safe. It’s another to be two years into this nightmare, and know by now that cloth masks are essentially useless. Yet we continue to be badgered and harassed about them in public and in the workplace, or labeled as dangerous or irresponsible for not buying into the narrative.
And what about those we protect before ourselves, our children? What about the smallest among us? Unsurprisingly enough, masks are actively harming our babies’ development, and they’re doing so from the very beginning.
Harming Development from Day 1
Both in and out of the womb, a baby develops, learns, and grows by leaps and bounds. Every day in their young life is a new adventure in growth and experience, and they can acquire a surprising amount of knowledge just by observing others. In the early sleepless days and nights of life with a newborn, they’re reaching milestones in development whether their parents know about it or not.
In the first three months alone, a baby can learn how to focus on and track objects and people with their eyes, as well as smile. From months four to six, they’re learning how to better control their head and hands, as well as laugh and babble, mimicking mom and dad. From months seven to nine, they're sitting on their own, maybe even crawling, and responding to games like peekaboo. By a year old, they might have begun to take their first steps and say their first few words. All of this they learn from looking at and observing others – so shouldn’t we be more concerned with how their observations are affected when every figure in their life is impaired by a mask?
Just hours after birth, newborns show a distinct preference for the faces of their mothers.
A baby’s brain goes through extraordinary growth from the time of their infancy to their first three years. All of that brain growth, and subsequently the abilities which govern their young lives, hinges on how successfully they develop in relation to their environment, relationships, and experiences. Studies show that a newborn can differentiate their mother’s face from that of other women within hours of birth, and that within the first few days, they’ve already learned how to recognize facial emotions like sadness, happiness, and surprise. It should be apparently obvious that none of this development can occur successfully and efficiently with an overwhelming reliance on mask use.
Social, Emotional, and Speech Development
Babies learn how to respond, communicate, and relate to others through observation. Specifically, the adults they observe provide clues on how to respond and relate to different social situations. As one therapist explains, they learn through a process called modeling, and when masks are involved, a baby doesn’t learn how to model through expressions, responses, and movement.
When modeling becomes impaired, the situation becomes even more complicated. Even if the baby can hear the sounds coming from their model, they won’t be able to see or respond to the associated expression because of the mask. Because of this, they’re not learning how to correctly associate and connect sounds with facial expressions.
Masks can prevent babies from learning how to correctly connect sounds with facial expressions.
When it comes to speech development in addition to social and emotional regulation, the process becomes nearly impossible. At around eight months, when a baby begins to read lips to associate words with sounds, visual cues help teach them how to express words, especially in how they position their mouth. With masks at play, babies are easily and understandably confused as to how to read those cues and connect the sound with the appropriate word.
It’s no wonder that speech delays in small children are up over 300%. Speech therapists and pathologists are beginning to see more and more patients who are babies and toddlers – one therapist equates their behavior to what often looks like autism. Babies aren’t even trying to pronounce words or babble, and aren’t communicating with others because they simply don’t know how to.
Is Child Abuse Too Big a Claim?
One child advocacy site defines child abuse as “any act which impairs a child’s physical or emotional health and development.” Mask idolaters scoff at this notion, but it’s glaringly obvious that masks harm the development of our children, and even now, we’re still talking about “safety” and most disgustingly of all, “compliance.”
Our children are too young and too precious to be the scapegoats for adult absurdity.
What we’ve really done – in placing our collective safety and security on those who have no control over it, and who aren’t even at risk – is an act of extreme cowardice. By now, we can no longer claim ignorance. Our children, even our babies, are paying the price for our hard-headed unwillingness to admit error, and we continue to persist in making them the scapegoat for our fear, even as they fail to achieve fundamental development milestones.
Our children are too young and too precious to be the scapegoats for adult absurdity, not to mention that all clear evidence points to the complete inefficiency and utter failure of masks as a virus prevention measure. Not only are they bad for the planet, but they’re also terrible for the next generation that will inherit it.
Being a parent is the largest responsibility many of us as adults will ever have. We’ve been entrusted with a vulnerable, impressionable life – perhaps several of them – and the outcome of their futures depend on us. Why, and how, can we continue to knowingly set them up for failure?
Protecting our children from all danger and harm and shielding them from the fabricated madness of the world is really our first duty as parents. The longer we continue to maintain a farce of such ridiculous proportions, the longer we knowingly and actively harm them.
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