Parents and guardians have been warned not to put a face mask on babies and toddlers due to serious chocking and suffocation risks.

The alert comes after so-called 'baby facemasks' attached to dummies, have been spotted for sale on social media, prompting warnings.

Parents have been urged not to cover their baby’s face with any kind of covering, after an image advertising such a mask was found on Facebook.

While adults must now wear face coverings on public transport and in shops (from July 24 in England) or face a fine, children under the age of 11 are not required to wear them.

'There is an increased risk of suffocation'

A Lancashire-based group known on Facebook as ‘The Pendle Family Zone’ group (which is also part of the 'Children and Family Wellbeing Services' in the area) shared a photo of the dangerous masks to warn parents against them.

The masks are not new products but have been on sale since 2014, and have gained recent attention due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Facebook post said: "One of ELHT's [East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust] amazing Community Midwives has brought this to our attention, after seeing this promoted as a cute idea for babies.

"Please, please, please do not do this! Babies are too little to wear a mask, and this design looks like it would increase the risk of suffocation."

The Pendle Family Zone also quoted The Lullaby Trust, which advises: "We are not aware of any advice for babies to wear masks, whether they are infected or not.

"There is a potential risk of suffocation and other hazards with doing this. The latest Government guidance says that children under three years do not need to wear masks.”

What does the UK government say?

The official advice from the UK government says: "Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of three or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly."

What was the response to the products?

Parents commenting on the post expressed their shock at the products.

One wrote online: "I cannot believe what I am seeing, how ridiculous and dangerous."

Another user commented: "Why would they even produce these knowing the dangers? Let's make money but risk lives. And who allowed production and the right to sell?"

Although one Facebook user was sceptical about the authenticity of the product, explaining: "I have seen this pic multiple times since March. I think it started out as a joke fashion accessory.

"Then people actually liked the idea and thought it would work. And it just keeps getting shared."