We’ve already written about fabric face masks for adults and the many retailers who sell them giving back to health-care and essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic. But the CDC also recommends that children over the age of 2 wear fabric face masks in public to slow the spread of the coronavirus. According to Dr. Brittany DiBardino of Tribeca Pediatrics, children are at low risk for severe illness when it comes to COVID-19, but certainly not at no-risk. Furthermore, she says, “kids may be more likely to lack obvious symptoms, which just reinforces how important social distancing is for all ages.” But at times when staying six feet away from other people is difficult — and because children with zero symptoms could unknowingly spread the virus — encouraging your kids to wear a fabric face mask while out walking the dog or going on a family hike is a good idea.
The same guidelines about fit and fabric quality for adult masks also apply for kids’ face masks: Masks should be made of at least two layers of breathable fabric and should fit securely, covering the nose and mouth completely without causing discomfort. In addition, DiBardino says children should be wearing masks only if they are able to remove them without assistance. That’s important to ensure there is no suffocation risk. Parents should encourage children not touch their face when wearing masks and should direct kids to wash their hands immediately after taking masks off.
If your kid refuses to put one on, Dr. Sten Vermund, a pediatrician, infectious-disease epidemiologist, and dean of the Yale School of Public Health, says that making mask use fun and gamelike will increase the chances of children cooperating, especially younger children. He adds that mask use should be intermittent, and that masks should be as comfortable as possible, so kids don’t get turned off by the idea. DiBardino recommends choosing a mask with a bendable nose piece in the fabric. “They help form a tight seal,” she says. She recommends getting at least two reusable face masks per child.
To help you find the masks both you and your children will like, we rounded up a bunch of cute and comfortable kids’ masks that also fit DiBardino and Vermund’s recommendations. With summer coming up, now is a good time to try out a few different styles to see which your child prefers. By the time the next school year arrives, they should be fully adjusted.
Editors’ note: Given that these masks are extremely in demand and made by very small teams (sometimes just one person), stock is constantly fluctuating. We’ll be updating this post frequently with new places to buy, so if you don’t see an option you like, check in later for more.
Food52 has partnered with Steele Canvas Basket Corp., a company that normally makes handsome canvas products, to sell the brand’s nonmedical face masks. They are available in both kid and adult sizes should you want to outfit your whole family. Buy one and they will donate a second to medical facilities across the U.S. Availability: Now.
Vistaprint’s kids’ masks are made with four layers to ensure proper filtration, breathability, and comfort. Their masks feature adjustable ear straps for a snug fit. Ten percent of every mask purchase goes to supporting local small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. Availability: Preorders ship starting May 28.
Etsy is a great place to shop for brightly colored kids’ masks. So if your child will only wear something featuring a rainbow or a unicorn, Etsy is probably your best bet. The site is also a treasure trove of fun, tightly woven cotton fabrics if you decide to make a mask at home. All of the above masks are washable and made with at least two layers of soft, breathable fabric. Availability: Most orders ship three to five business days after purchase. (Also, sellers are working hard to keep up with demand, so if a particular mask is sold out now, you might be able to check back later and find it in stock.)
Or you could pick up a set of these rainbow masks featuring designs drawn by actual kids between the ages of 4 and 11. The masks were inspired by the kid-made rainbows displayed in windows, which have become a popular message of hope and gratitude during the coronavirus pandemic. Masks are made in New York City, and 100 percent of profits from sales are being donated to NYC Health + Hospitals. Availability: Now.
Los Angeles–based yoga-clothing brand Onzie is making face masks for kids using upcycled fabrics from their yoga collections. Masks are stretchy, comfortable, quick-drying, and breathable. Kids’ sizes are designed to fit children from 5 to 10 years old. A portion of proceeds from your purchase go to health-care workers through a donation to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Availability: Now.
Choose from a handful of different kids’ variety packs of five masks. Each one is double-ply cotton blend and machine-washable. LA Made Clothing even makes a few different mask clips on chains to help kids from losing their masks when not in use. Availability: Now.
If you have a kid who’s a Toy Story or Monsters, Inc. fan, these triple-layer Disney face masks featuring Forky and a bunch of other Pixar characters might make them more enthusiastic about wearing a mask. All profits from sales of their masks in the U.S. (up to $1 million) will be donated to Medshare, which helps children and families in underserved and vulnerable communities across the country. Availability: Masks are available for preorder and are expected to ship by July 15.
For every mask sold, Brooklyn-based designer Abacaxi is donating the cost of an N95 mask to the Mask Fund for health-care workers. Each of the company’s masks is made using double-layered cotton fabric and includes an opening between the layers of fabric so you can add your own filter. Size small fits kids 7 to 12 years old, and extra-small fits kids 3 to 6 years old. Availability: Preorders ship starting May 28th.
Banana Republic’s masks are made from just one layer of fabric. However, that one layer is stretchy and comfortable, and the masks include an adjustable wire at the nose for a comfortable, secure fit. For each one sold, Banana Republic is donating $10 to Feeding America. Availability: Now.
Activewear brand Athleta is now offering double-layered fabric face masks for kids. Masks fasten with fabric ties rather than ear loops and are lightweight, breathable, and machine-washable. Availability: Ships starting June 27th.
These soft fabric face masks are made with two layers of washable cotton and feature an inner pocket for adding a filter. Each set of three masks comes with six filters. Availability: Shipping starts May 26th.
Made of two layers of cotton, these adorable masks are machine-washable with adjustable straps and a shapable metal nosepiece to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. Ten percent of proceeds will be donated to support COVID-19 relief efforts. Availability: Ships June 11th.
Jaanuu’s masks are made using the same soft, antimicrobial fabric as their popular medical apparel. The company is donating one mask for every mask sold. Availability: Orders start shipping June 16th.