As the pandemic raged on over the last year, wearing a face mask became an important key to protecting oneself and others from spreading COVID-19—even in the case of children. While older individiuals, and those with pre-existing medical conditions (think: asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), kids can readily spread the infection to others unknowingly, since they typically have less serious symptoms.
"Children are less likely than adults to have severe illness or even show symptoms of COVID such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath," says Sachin Nagrani, MD, medical director of Heal. Because kids infected with COVID are less likely to have these tell-tale symptoms, they can transmit the virus to others, he adds.
That said, although less likely, children can also become severely ill from COVID, which is why wearing a mask is critical to their health, as well. "All children age 2 years and older, with rare exceptions for those with special health conditions, should wear masks," advises Dr. Sachin. Worth noting: Children younger than 2-years-old should not wear cloth face coverings, because of suffocation risk, but they can be protected by ensuring others around the child are wearing masks, he notes.
As children return to school and day care, it has become even more crucial to take as many precautions as possible—starting with having your child wear a face mask. In many ways, kids' face masks should follow the same guidelines regarding fit and fabric quality as masks for adults: they should fit comfortably, covering the nose and mouth completely. They should be made of at least two layers of breathable material, and you may want to consider options with adjustable ear loops and wire nose bridges, since they make for a more secure fit.
It's no secret that kids can be picky, and it's possible your little one may even refuse to wear a mask at some point or another. What to do then? Dr. Sachin recommends wearing a mask while looking in the mirror and talking to your child about it. You can also make or decorate masks that are personalized and fun, have a stuffed animal wear a mask, or show your child pictures of other children wearing masks, he suggests. "The goal is to make wearing a mask feel normal for your child or teen."
With so many face masks for kids out there, it can be overwhelming to choose one that's up for the task, but luckily we did the homework for you. Ahead, the best kids' face masks that are comfy, breathable, and that your child will actually want to wear, according to super enthusiastic reviews from parents and teachers.
This children's' mask features three layers of protection, adjustable ear straps for comfort, and a flexible wire nose band to better contour to the face and to prevent fogging while wearing glasses. It even has an insert sleeve to keep disposable filters for additional coverage. It's available in 33 versatile solids and fun patterns, including rainbows, zodiac stars, tie dye, and animal faces. Tons of shoppers reported that their kids have received compliments on this mask, have said it's comfy and breathable, and that they actually want to wear it.
"I bought this mask for my 9 year old son. He wore it today for his first day of school and he said it was comfortable to wear all day. He has asthma and had no issues breathing while wearing it, " shared another.
Designed to fit kids, these dual-layer face masks from Caraa are breathable and washable, allowing for multiple uses. They have adjustable ear straps and an embedded nose wire for a more custom fit. Snap up a 5-piece set in a variety of colors, including the pretty pastel grouping above. Many parents commented on how comfortable they are for all-day wear, with one claiming that this is the only mask their 3-year-old daughter won't fight them on.
One happy mom wrote: "These are my 7 year old son's favorite masks - by far! He has to wear a mask for 7 hours a day in 1st grade and he says they are very comfortable! They don't fall below his nose and the ear adjusters help the mask fit perfectly."
With over 5,000 five-star ratings, these children's face masks have adjustable ear straps and an adjustable nose clip that ensures the mask won't fog up your child's glasses. They boast a dual-layer fabric for extra protection, are washable for multiple uses, and come with a name tag so your kiddo won't mix up their mask at school. What's more, teachers, who have purchased these for students who forget their mask at home, praise this pick and give it their stamp of approval.
"Cutest childrens' masks ever!" raved a customer. "The material is very soft and the adjustable nose piece and ear straps make the masks easy to customize for your child. The colors and funny faces just bring a smile to your child's, and parents, faces. Perfect masks for your kids to wear to school since there is one for each day of the week."
A breathable, lightweight, and cute face mask—what more could you want for your baby? Athleta's face coverings are made of two layers of lightweight yet protective fabric— with an inner layer of comfy mesh. They also have a pocket for removable filters, adjustable ear loops, and a reflective sliver logo on the corner for added safety in the dark. While they are great for wearing all day during school, parents also loved how breathable and comfy they are for less sedentary activities, including soccer, dance, and bike rides.
One reviewer said: "I loved the look and feel of the adult mask so I bought three of the girls masks for my 3 and 6yo to try. They absolutely love them! My 6yo wears her for 7 hours a day at school and my 3yo won't put on any of the other 20 children's masks we own! I had to go back to the store to purchase more! Thank you for making such a great mask for the kids(and myself)!"
Complete with adjustable ear straps, these washable 100% cotton masks come in a set of four, so you'll always have one on hand for your little one, even on laundry days.
"I was worried these masks would be too big for my toddler, who is 2.5, but they fit perfectly! He absolutely loves all of the different designs and feels “so big” wearing these fun masks. Previously he had plain cloth masks and he had no interest in keeping them on. The wire around the nose and adjustable ear loops keep them tight and makes it easier for him to talk with them on. They also wipe clean quickly and washed nicely," reported a shopper.
The Etsy shop that creates these cheerful, double-layer, cotton kids' face masks ensures they'll fit most children ages 4-10. Available in endless colors, you also have the option to purchase a single mask, 3-pack, family 4-pack (2 adult and 2 kids masks), or mommy and me 2-pack. Plus, these children's masks have earned a perfect five-star rating on Etsy, so your little one will be in good company.
"Our go to for the entire family for masks!" raved a buyer. "Comfy, good quality, cute, & quick shopping! The only one my 2 year old will keep on too! Love this shop!"
Boasting almost 4,000 five-star ratings, these face masks boast adjustable-bead ear straps for a secure fit, maintain their shape and quality after plenty of washes, and are made with a UV-protected fabric that keeps your child cool for outdoor sports and on weekend outings. Not to mention, if your kid is bored of the same solid-colored masks, this set of four comes in a variety of cool prints and patterns. Parent's loved these for their kids so much, they even admitted to ordering a set for themselves.
Another pleased customer said: "They are actually pretty good. Very comfy and adjustable. I have wash those a few times already and they still hold pretty well. My daughter loves the designs and hasn't complained yet :)"
This vibrant 5-piece children's mask set ensures your kid has one for every day of the school week. The dual-layer cotton masks have adjustable ear loops and bendable wire nose bridges to get the perfect fit. Plus, the set comes with a mesh laundry bag to make cleaning a total breeze (yep, no more hand-washing!). And psst, if you're outfitting multiple children in face masks, parents say this one is a winner since it can accommodate kids of different sizes (read: one reviewer reported that it fit their 6-year-old and toddler.)
"My 5 year olds can wear these masks. They say they can breathe, they like how they look, they can put them on themselves and the ear loops are adjustable but not so loose that they come off as other masks have done for us in the past. I like that they are thick enough and are washable," wrote another.
Not only are these kids' masks super fun and cute, but they're soft and breathable, too, thanks to the 3-ply, 100% cotton fabric. They have adjustable over-the-ear straps, and come in a set of five, so your little one is bound to find one to suit their mood each day.
"I have a toddler and these are the only masks he'll wear. The adjustable ear straps are a godsend. I won't buy him masks anywhere else. Great find!" shared a shopper.
If you're on the hunt for a face mask for your child that'll stand up to outdoor activities and sports, look no further than this one from 32 Degrees. It's made of a stretchy spandex-blend fabric, using yarn containing silver ions, which are antibacterial and help to keep odor at bay. The single-ply thin piece of fabric has a 3-layer structure for extra coverage, is quick-drying, and features UV protection to keep your kid cool and comfortable.
"These are the best masks for little ones as they are breathable according to my 5yr old," noted a parent. "She has to wear a mask all day at school and she has yet to complain about these masks. They fit great, are easy to put on and seem to be holding up really well after many many washes.
Made of 100% cotton, these adorable face masks are made of triple-layer, lightweight cotton, have adjustable ear loops, and a nose piece for a snug fit. They have pockets for filters, are washable and reusable, and come in a ton of whimsical prints—including animal faces.
"Finally, a kids mask that fits our daughter well. She's 6.5 years old and we've had a hard time finding masks to fit her properly. The mask covers her whole mouth and nose easily, and the flexible nose piece contours to her face well. The adjustable straps are also an added benefit, and we've gotten other masks that had them, but it was just a bead, that would easily slide around. These stay in place well and won't easily slip out of position," said a reviewer.
While they're not as sustainable (or reusable at all, in fact) as the other kids' face masks on this list, they offer similar features, which have earned them their impressive rating on Amazon. Lightweight and breathable, these face coverings have three protective layers, an adjustable nose wire, and come individually sealed—meaning, they'll stay clean and intact when stashing them in your purse, car, or kid's backpack. Multiple reviewers said they stick these disposable masks in their kids' backpacks as spares, and one went as far as to say that the tie dye print is much cuter than other plain and cheesy patterned masks they've found.
"These masks fit both of my kids (6 & 9) comfortably," shared a parent. "They don't have a weird smell and they hold up the whole school day. I love that they are individually wrapped so I can stick a few in each backpack and not worry about them getting dirty or ripped. Highly recommended!"