Face Masks for Kids

Tips for finding your child's mask

It’s one thing to worry about finding a mask for yourself but even more worrisome when it’s for your child. New ways of learning and new rules at school are stressful enough. Your kid’s mask should be stress free as possible.

While children remain the lowest risk group for infection, the new Covid variants do carry some risks. The WHO recommends regular hand washing and social distancing but parents know how impossible it is to maintain those suggestions. So, getting your kids into the habit of wearing a face mask is a great idea.

Right Age

When your child is ready to wear a mask? Pediatricians say when a kid is able to remove the mask themselves without assistance, they are ready to wear one.

Ideally, they should also be old enough to follow the routine of not touching their face when wearing a mask and wash their hands before and after taking their masks off.  

Realistically, every kid will need reminders to follow both suggestions. Your child should definitely wear a mask anywhere in public where physical distancing is hard to maintain.

Right materials

To find the right mask for your kid use the same guidelines you use to pick your own masks.

material three layer child kids mask

 Your child’s disposable mask should be a minimum of at three layers. This means a front layer of non-woven fabric, a middle layer of melt blown polypropylene and a back layer of spinbound non-woven ultra-soft fabric.

Quality masks use high-grade fabrics for a better quality and fit but also for a better smell. The cheaper polypropylene fabrics have a very strong chemical smell that can be off putting for most kids.

 

Eyes, ears, mouth and nose

The mask should fit snugly over your child’s mouth and nose with no gaps on the top, bottom or sides. You don’t want the fit so tight that it interferes with their ability to breathe properly or masks them feel anxious. Adjustability is important so look for a reinforced metal nose bridge that can be fitted along your kid’s nose. A mask fitted close to the nose will also stop their glasses from fogging up as well

Earloops are the easiest way to keep masks on your kid’s face. Just make sure the elastic is a soft, high-grade elastic so it doesn’t irritate the skin. The thinner and smaller the elastic the better (remember it’s going behind tiny ears) – ¼ inch is the standard

The reluctant kid

Some kids are just not going to like wearing a mask. If your child is reluctant, pediatricians recommend taking it slow.

father-mother-toddler-wearing-face-masks

 

Start off using the mask in short intervals and build up to longer periods until your child is comfortable. Practice makes perfect.  

Child psychologists also advise having plenty of patience and not turn wearing the mask into a power struggle. 

Younger children are just discovering colors so letting them choose a mask with their favorite color can also make a mask more appealing. Showing pictures of other children wearing masks or putting a mask on a favorite stuffed animal can also help your child adjust.

School age children have the benefit of their peers and teachers to help them adjust. Having discussions about how the masks are made and their benefits will help older kids accept them.

“Children are incredibly adaptable and resilient. Just like children understand that they must wear bicycle helmets and buckle into their car seats, they will come to learn to wear masks routinely when necessary,” said AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP. 

But hands down, the biggest factor in getting your child to wear their mask is for them to see you wearing it. Children model the behavior around them, and your example is the best one for them to follow.

Beware counterfeits

Approach shopping for masks online with caution. There are a lot of fakes and poor-quality masks coming from China

There is a lot of discussions currently about N95. This is a listing for medical grade masks with ties that go around the head which are not recommended for children.  A better option is using a high filtration masks with earloops such as the Lutema 5-Layer M95c Kids Travel Face Mask with Ultra High Filtration.

Simplify your search and buy your mask from an American manufacturer who must comply with strict USA guidelines in order to produce and sell masks. You’re guaranteed a mask that will protect your child.

 

Try this quick test

  1. Cut open one side of the mask. Peel it apart. There should be three to five layers.
  2. Pull on elastic earloops. There should be some give without the elastic fraying or breaking away from the mask itself.
  3. When put to an open flame, the entire mask should melt and not burn to ash.
  4. Open the mask, turn it upside down and fill it with water. No water should leak out.

 

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