The wearing of a face mask for kids is highly recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) when they return to in-person classes. Due to the Delta variant surge, people of all ages, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, are advised to wear a face mask indoors to prevent virus transmission.
Though the general recommendations do not specify the best type of face mask for kids, some experts said parents should look for a mask equivalent to the N95. It is a U.S. manufactured face mask approved by the Food and Drug Administration for protection against airborne transmission as it has the right filtration to block small particles.
According to Virginia Tech lab engineer Linsey Marr, since N95 doesn't come in children's sizes, parents may consider other masks that fit perfectly without any leaks to the sides. The expert said that a fabric mask might fit more snuggly on a child's face, but a surgical mask should be under it for better filtration.
Parents need to know that fit and filtration are both critical factors to ensure protection. However, children must also be comfortable about wearing a face mask. Otherwise, it will defeat the purpose of protecting them if they decide to take this off in school.
Are KN95 Face Mask Good?
KN95 face masks are widely available in all sizes, but some parents hesitate to let their kids wear this protection because it's manufactured in China. Marr warned that KN95 counterfeit masks abound, and these do not provide the same quality of protection as the real items. However, there are ways to test if the face mask is a counterfeit using a lighter, water, or fragrance.
Dr. Sharon Nachman of the Stony Brook Children's Hospital suggested that parents pack extra face masks for their kids in a Ziploc bag if what they're wearing gets wet. The expert said that children are usually mouth breathers who may quickly soil their masks. A soiled or wet mask is inefficient.
Meanwhile, a global company recently launched a KN95 for children, which has been registered with the FDA. Vida Kids KN95 masks are selling for $35 for a pack of 10 at its official site on ShopVida.Com. The mask also comes in different colors that will appeal to the children. The company will be able to deliver any orders, regardless if it's for family use or a bulk order of 1,000 or more face masks for kids.
WellBefore Kids KN95 masks, on the other hand, have three sizes, including extra small, and are sold for $1.49 each on their site at Wellbefore.Com. Their items are featured with five layers to guarantee protection. A minimum of 10 masks is required with each purchase, but unlike Vida Kids, they currently have just white and blue face masks.
Mask Mandates in School
At least 14 states across America have allowed schools to issue a face mask mandate, while eight states have banned schools from having such a rule, saying that it's a personal decision for the parents.
Pediatrician and infectious disease expert Dr. Tina Tan of the Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, which has allowed schools to make the decision about face masks, said that it's a public health and safety issue and has nothing to do with politics.
"You have to be able to wear a mask because that is the only way you're going to be able to do in-person school," she said.
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