For many children, a hospital is a scary place in normal times, with its unfamiliar surroundings, an endless number of questions, and those dreaded needles. To make matters worse, now the children can’t see the friendly faces of their nurses and doctors, since those faces are hidden by their anti-COVID-19 masks.

Atara Ben-Dov, a pediatric intensive care nurse at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, came up with the idea of decorating the various protective face coverings to turn what could be a frightening experience into one that produces a winning smile.

“I was on duty one evening when it occurred to me that our masks needed a little color,” says Ben-Dov. “I began tinkering—decorating, coloring, and gluing. I got other nurses involved in my crazy idea, and we came up with snorkel and funny-face masks. I think we got it right because the parents and children here and all my friends are laughing a little more.”

“Even now, we can laugh, smile, and be optimistic, infecting others with our good cheer.”