Choosing the Right Face Mask for Your Child

  • All but undoubtedly, kids heading back to school this coming year will need to put on kids face masks to keep themselves and those near them safe. But, if you as a parent, you know it's not that simple anymore. Getting your older kids to put on a face mask may be simple, but getting a mask that fits right can be challenging, too. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

    If you know which kids are prone to allergies or asthma, look for masks specifically made to work with those allergens. If you're looking for one of the more stylish types, consider getting two or three different colors of cloth filters. These filters can be used for the mask itself, as well as the wearer's hair (if she wears it back). Instead of just attaching to the front of the mask, the filters have an attachment at the back called a "filter pocket." They allow you to pull the mask up over the filter pocket, to provide airflow, and also to easily remove the filter pocket to clean your kid's face if it gets messy.

    Fabric-made face shields are generally washable and machine-washer safe. Linen, polyester, cotton, and other synthetic fabrics are usually only good for use during the summer months when your child is mostly likely to want to stay out of the sun, because it tends to bleach fabrics that aren't naturally resistant to sunlight. Linen and polyester are both good choices for face shield-wearing for the rest of the year.

    If you want to spend more time protecting your child's sensitive skin, you might want to look into "phased" fabrics. Phased materials tend to have several layers of materials that move from their original state, from cold to hot, then back again. The inside of the layers gradually warm to a warmer shade of color, while the outside layer continues to maintain its cold temperature. This means that some portions of the mask might get hot, while others get cold. Some phased layers can even feel like a second skin, which can be great for kids with facial damage or acne problems.

    Finally, take a look at the construction of the masks. Kids face shields that have rigid construction are less likely to become damaged during play or rough treatment. The best masks will sit flat against the cheeks, without sagging. Rigid masks may also have soft lining, which allows the mask to breathe. Make sure you fit the kids mask perfectly and adjust it as needed.