Former NICU baby helps mom make face masks for hospital frontliners battling COVID-19

The coronavirus outbreak has depleted stocks of personal protective equipment across the world, risking the health of our front liners: doctors, nurses, and other medical workers. One item that remains desperately needed are surgical masks, and this former NICU baby is doing his part in solving this problem by helping create a DIY solution.


When Georgia-based mom Kristy Rae Carnaghi heard that supplies of masks were running out at hospitals, she immediately looked for ways to help.

“A friend of mine is a seamstress and is making them for her friends that are nurses,” she told Motherly.

When Kristy joined the effort, her 5-year-old son, Christian, wanted to get involved, too. The preschooler was a former NICU baby who was born six weeks early. Neonatal nurses cared for him round the clock five years ago, and the little boy understood that they were making the masks to protect the same people who took care of him when he was sick.

Corona virus pandemic.

The mother and son duo gathered material and elastic from their neighbors and started their project. The colorful, washable gear is to be worn over medical-grade masks to make them last longer; they’re not designed to block the entry of the virus.

They can only extend the life of the surgical masks and inserts that some nurses are being forced to reuse because of the lack of N95 masks. They also provide a cheerful twist to the traditional ones, as the designs make them look a lot less scary.

Former NICU baby making mask for frontliners.
Courtesy of Kristy Rae Carnaghi

Kristy posted on a Facebook group to see if any health care workers could use their homemade creations, and the response was immediate. A neighbor who is also a NICU nurse told her she was interested and took one to work. And as expected, her colleagues loved the masks!

“The nurse I’ve been speaking with said the mask (covers) would brighten everyone’s day,” Kristy said. “They appreciate that they’re coming from a NICU baby.”

Christian’s role in the production is to cut the elastic and hold the mask in place. Since she’s working with a child, Kristy knows that they’re going at a much slower pace. But her son really wanted to help, so she let him.

“My son is an amazing kid. This is keeping us busy and making our hearts happy and each one is made with love from a NICU baby,” she said.

This NICU baby has been making protective gears for nurses.
Courtesy of Kristy Rae Carnaghi

The 45-year-old mother has been homeschooling Christian ever since the government declared a lockdown of non-essential establishments and schools. A part of why she wanted him to participate in the mask-making project was so she could teach him a valuable lesson about helping one another in times of need. And evidently, she achieved just what she wanted – her boy was actively helping his community in his own little way!

It’s so inspiring to see that a kid as young as Christian is already doing his part in helping our front liners combat this terrible virus. Like this mother and son duo, let’s take action whenever we see an opportunity to help. Let’s beat this pandemic with our united efforts!