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Michigan mom's invention helps prevent COVID-19 spread in classroom

Tara Cochran's idea about face mask clips has blossomed into an unexpected business. The Muskegon mom is shipping them all over the country.

NORTON SHORES, Mich. — Back to school time is upon us, and given the pandemic, it's a big unknown, leading most parents and children to experience a lot of anxiety.

A mom from Norton Shores has invented a way to help keep COVID-19 from spreading in the classroom.

It all started in June when Tara Cochran visited a daycare for her 5-month-old daughter, Everly, and saw some loose pacifiers. She immediately wondered whose was whose, fearing if the toddlers were unknowingly using each other's pacifiers and exchanging germs.

Tara went home, got some string, attached a clip on each end, then attached a pacifier to one of the clips. The clip would latch onto the child and, voila, problem solved and fears avoided.

Soon after, she launched her website and started selling the pacifier clips

"That got me thinking even more," said Cochran, 24. "With schools set to open back up, I know many parents who are scared to send their kids because the idea of making [elementary aged] children be responsible to hold on to a mask all day is overwhelming."

So, Tara invented a way that the mask can hold onto them. It's a face mask clip, similar to the concept to her pacifier clip, but the string is longer so it can hang around the child's neck.

Credit: WZZM
Tara Cochran customizes each face mask clip with colored beads. If desired, she'll also add the child's name written in beads, too.

"The idea of a 5-year-old running around a playground with something around their neck really freaked me out," added Cochran. "So I added a breakaway feature.

"If the child gets stuck on a slide or something, or maybe closes it in their locker, it just pulls right off."

Since she went public with the invention in July, Cochran says she's been taking in orders from all over the country, including as far west as California.

"It's been kind of crazy," said Cochran. "If it keeps getting bigger, I'm going to have to recruit my friends [to help me make these]."

A simple idea, born out of concern and fueled by follow-through, could ultimately help save lives.

"Everybody wants something to help them make them feel like they're doing their part to keep their kids safe because sending your kids to school during a pandemic is pretty scary," said Cochran.

If you're interested in learning more about Tara's face mask clips, or perhaps purchasing one, you can order through her website, which can be found HERE.

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