We’ve written a lot about fabric face masks and the many retailers who sell them. 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. And with the arrival of fall and many elementary schools open for in person classes making sure your kids have the best masks and enough of them is paramount. 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 is a great 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 instruct their children not touch their face when wearing masks and should direct kids to wash their hands immediately after taking masks off. (You should also wash their masks regularly, ideally after every wear especially if they’re wearing those masks to school. We have a guide on how to clean a face mask, if you want more details.)
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 follow DiBardino and Vermund’s recommendations. Now is a good time to try out a few different styles to see which your child prefers. Whether they’re back at school or sticking with remote learning, getting them used to mask use now will pay off down the line.
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.
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: Arrives within a week.
Crayola had the genius idea of creating five-packs of cloth face masks for kids (one for each day of school). The pack comes with a mesh laundry bag and name tags to keep track of everyone’s individual masks. They’re made of dual-layer fabric and feature a nose strip and adjustable ear straps.
Availability: Usually ships within 6 to 10 days.
When it’s really hot and humid outside, disposable paper masks like these from children’s care brand Dr. Talbot’s are more comfortable and breathable than thick fabric masks. These are made using three layers of soft, nonwoven material for great filtration and breathability. They have a bendable nose strip and soft ear loops for a comfortable fit for kids ages 4 to 12.
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. 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. But both of these masks are available to ship now.
Nordstrom is selling this set of six kids’ masks. Each is machine washable, made of 100 percent cotton knit, and easy to put on and take off.
Availability: Expected to arrive between September 18th and 25th.
The larger-size bandanna mask from this Brooklyn-based maker is featured in our article about the best face masks for adults (we wear-tested it, too). So we know this cute antimicrobial Winnie the Pooh version for kids is well made and comfortable. The inner lining is an athletic piqué mesh that is quick drying and moisture wicking for a cool, dry feel against your child’s skin. It’s also washable, reusable, and made in the USA.
If you’re raising a tiny style icon, this bandana mask should be in your collection. It’s made from triple-layered cotton for durability and protection, and adjustable ear loops help it easily fit multiple kids’ face sizes from ages 2 through 12. Plus, each mask comes with an added filter. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to COVID-19-specific causes.
With the same construction as its adult masks, Rendall Co. kids’ masks come in two sizes: 3 to 6 years and 7 to 10. They feature two layers of high-density, 100 percent woven cotton; Velcro fasteners on both sides to allow for safe, instant breakaway and easy reattachment; and a comfortable and adjustable bungee strap that doesn’t put pressure on little ears and allows the mask to hang around the neck when not in use (so it’s not dirty or lost when you need it).
For kids who play hard in their masks, you might want to pick up one like this, which has an antimicrobial coating to keep it smelling fresh. It also features a bendable nose wire and a filter pocket. If floral isn’t your kid’s thing, Masqd has tons of other fun prints.
These kids’ face masks are made of four-way-stretch polyester