With increasing air pollution, wildfires, and pandemics such as the corona virus lurking around, the demand for pollution masks has been on the rise. Seeing people wearing pollution masks is becoming so common but it's less common for babies so recently I have been wondering if you can actually get anti-pollution masks for babies.
Accordingly, I started looking for air pollution masks for babies and I found it's actually quite difficult to find masks for babies. Pollution masks for babies are difficult to find as masks are mainly made for adults.
Regardless, I found several masks that can do the job but as I explain later you have to be very cautious when trying any of these. Out of all the masks, I personally preferred the Kapmore 3PCS Mouth Mask (click to see it here at Amazon) because of its high flexibility and ease of use on babies compared to the other masks.
To help you make the best choice for your child when it comes to masks in the rest of this post, I explain how masks work and take you through some precautions when it comes to using masks on babies.
Once you’ve grasped the workings of masks in the context of a baby, I then show you some masks that are in my opinion worth trying out for babies.
So, let’s get started with how masks work so you can appreciate the safeguards you have to put in place when it comes to getting the right mask for your little one.
How Anti Pollution Masks Work
In my quest to find anti-pollution masks for babies, the first thing I found was important to know was how anti-pollution masks work. Knowing how masks work helped me better understand all the caveats and what exactly to look for when it comes to babies’ masks.
An air pollution mask can be made of fabric, microfiber or processed paper. It may have a layer of activated carbon to eliminate some gaseous contaminants. It may also have stainless steel or plastic girders for shape and strength
Air pollution masks protect you by acting as a shield between you and the pollutants in the air. They prevent you from breathing in harmful airborne particles and some gases by blocking them from entering your body through your mouth and nose.
Pollution masks are made of various materials. Some are made of plastic, microfibers, fabric and even processed paper. Some masks also have multiple layers of filtration material including HEPA and activated carbon filters.
Most masks will come with adjustable ear loops to adjust them to hold tightly to your face, while others will have loops that go around the back of your head and neck.
If you get a mask made of cloth or fabric, these are usually not so effective as most pollutants can seep through the fabric. Apparently you can only prevent yourself from inhaling up to 50% of pollutants with fabric masks.
Moreover, no particulate mask will completely protect you from gases or vapor. You will actually need a gas mask to prevent the inhalation of gaseous and vaporized pollutants.
With this in mind, if you are looking for a good anti-pollution mask, avoid fabric masks, including surgical masks. The more effective masks are masks with respirators and more specifically masks rated N95 to N100.
Rated masks contain multiple filtration layers that prevent pollutants that are as small as 0.3 microns from passing through and being inhaled by you. The main ratings for masks include N95, N99 and N100 and these respectively block up to 95%, 99% and 97% of pollutants measuring 0.3 microns and larger.
The rated masks will protect you from combustion particles, various airborne organic compounds, and metal particulates, bacteria, viruses, dust, pollen, mold and various particulates that are of comparable size.
For extra protection against gaseous pollutants, look for gas masks that are rated CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear). This is very hard to come across for babies.
Good CBRN gas masks deal with both particulate, vapor, and gases. They deal with all particulates and also prevent gaseous and vaporized substances including biological aerosols, radioactive dust, volatile organic compounds, inorganic gases among many others from entering your air passage.
Irrespective of ratings, some masks are designed for reuses while others you only use once and dispose of. You can also get masks that are washable and others where you just replace your mask’s filter when it wears out.
As most masks work by intercepting pollutants on their route to your nose and mouth, it is important to make sure they fit tightly on your face. There should be no gaps where pollutants cant leak through into your mask, otherwise you are still largely exposed to the pollutants you are protecting yourself from.
The best way to minimize gaps is firstly to get an appropriately sized mask. Next, try to get a mask with flexible and highly adjustable loops that can be comfortably tightened to fit.
A common complaint with pollution masks is that some get to tight and put a strain on your ears and nasal bridge. Other people complain about uncomfortable breathing, especially for masks packed with heavy filtration.
If masks do not fit well and you wear glasses or a helmet you will find your glasses or helmet starting to steam up and obstructing your sight. This will be a concern for infants that wear glasses, but for most babies not really.
Now that you know the key elements of how pollution masks work, I am sure you can already see issues about whether they are okay for babies or not. I discuss this next.
Can Babies Wear Masks For Air Pollution?
The major question I and many others interested in pollution masks for babies ask, once they understand the workings of masks, are,
- Will I find a mask that fits my child?
- Will my baby be able to breathe through a mask?
- Are masks safe for babies?
I came across answers to all these questions and much more. First and foremost, if you have a newborn, masks are a complete no no and out of question. I don’t think any newborn has the lung strength to breathe through an N95 filter or any worthwhile mask.
Furthermore, depending on the kind of mask you get, your newborn’s head may not be strong enough to withstand the pressure of the mask’s strap on its ears or head. Your baby’s head is just not strong enough when it’s only a couple of months old, and putting a tight strap around it is risky business.
From personal observation, you should only consider an air pollution mask for babies who can crawl on their own, and that’s for babies from about 6 months old. I strongly suggest if you are not sure, you start by consulting your doctor or pediatrician before trying a mask on your baby.
Now with regards to size, once your baby is able to wear masks, most pollution masks for the youngest infants I have seen are labeled ages 2-5 years old but you will find masks that will fit children as young as 6 months old.
As far as safety is concerned, you have to be vigilant when your child has a mask on. Make sure for the first couple of days, you check on your child’s comfort when it comes to breathing and tightness. Also, don’t let your child sleep with a mask on. That’s a sacrilege.
If your child is crying or shows any sign of discomfort then you have to ditch the mask. In short, I can say pollution masks are generally okay to be worn by babies over 6 months old but finding a good mask for your baby, and at times getting your baby to accept to wear one can be tricky.
So, be prepared when you get one for your child as chances are you may end up not using it. Baby pollution masks are really a trial and error product. There are no official guidelines for them and this is the big reason why there are a lot of question marks around them.
The 4 Best Anti Pollution Masks That Babies Can Wear
You will notice on your search for anti-pollution masks that sometimes they are also called mouth masks. It took me a while to realize that this is how baby masks are commonly described online and my search for good anti-pollution masks for babies was that much harder before I realized.
Keeping in mind the complexities around baby pollution masks, below are 4 masks I have found that will likely work best for your baby. Again, before you try any of these, I cannot stress enough the importance of taking all the precautionary measures, I mentioned previously.
Kapmore 3PCS Mouth Mask Dustproof Breathable Face Mouth Mask Mouth Cover for Kids Babies
The first mask I found worth considering is the Kapmore Dust-proof Breathable Face Mask. It is made of cotton yarn and feels extremely soft which is good for your baby’s skin and ensuring minimal discomfort.
The straps for this mask can easily be adjusted to fit your baby and are designed to be gentle and not to hurt your baby’s ears in any way. Its the only mask I found online that explicitly states that it is suitable for babies from age 0 upwards.
The mask comes in a variety of colors with cute baby patterns but unfortunately, you cannot pick the color you want if you order it online. This mask will protect your baby mainly from particulate pollution (solid ultra-fine airborne particles) and airborne germs and bacteria but it’s not the best for gaseous pollutants.
The mask is washable and reusable but has to be replaced after 3 months of use. Fortunately, when you buy it, it comes in a pack of three or more so you always have a year’s supply when you order it. You can check out the mask here at amazon.
Rarmycus Kids Anti Pollution Mask with Activated Carbon Filters
The Rarmycus Kids Mask is also soft on the skin and made of soft cotton. Its made of breathable material and is comfortable for most children. It has a breathing valve to make breathing much easier and it comes with an activated carbon filter that you can insert within the sleeve of the mask.
This mask is good for protection against exhaust fumes, dust, pollen, smog and common bacteria in your air.
The straps are elastic and adjustable but do not look suitable for children below a year old. The masks are labeled for age 3 and above but they can be safely used on younger children who can crawl and easily take the mask off on their own.
The mask is reusable and can be washed. However, the filter eventually has to be disposed of and replaced at least every month depending on how often you use it. This anti-pollution mask comes in a variety of colors and it is available here at Amazon.
Halyard Child's Masks
Another mask I found that works well for children is the Halyard Child's Masks made of cotton. This is a very basic, gauze-like mask, with knitted ear loops that are safe for your child’s ears and though it’s designed for children over the age of 4 years it can be adjusted to fit younger children.
The mask can is disposable but it is a notch above a surgical mask offering protection against airborne viruses and germs, dust, smoke and various small particulates in your air but it’s not an airtight fit and will leak.
So go for this mask if you just need the bare minimum protection for your child. The mask is skin-friendly and when you order it you will receive 75 of them in a box. The mask comes with cute cartoon prints on it and is gender-neutral in terms of color. You can check out the mask at Amazon here.
MIRA KZD-6 Protective Enclosure / Infant Gas Mask for Small Children & Pets
The final mask for babies and in my opinion by far the best option, if your baby is under 18 months of age, is the MIRA KZD-6 protective enclosure. The MIRA KZD-6 is a one of a kind mask and I am yet to see any other mask like it being retailed online.
It’s unique in that it is actually a mini tent that completely covers your baby’s body. This completely eliminates the challenge of finding a face mask that fits your baby’s face well. Besides, dealing with worries about what size mask to get, the mask deals with all kinds of particulate and most common pollutant gases and vapors.
The main restriction with this mask is that your baby cannot weigh more than 30 lbs. You can pop your baby inside the mask and carry him/her around using its strap or simply place the unit in your pram while your baby sits comfortably inside it.
This mask will last you 10 years with filter replacements, so you can use it on multiple children overtime through their infancy if you plan to have more than one child. You have to see this mask for yourself. Check out the MIRA Safety KZD - 6 here.
So, these are the 4 masks I found worth trying out for babies at the time of writing this post. All the masks I have mentioned except MIRA masks are fabric, and as I mentioned earlier you just won’t get complete pollution protection for your baby from fabric masks. That said the protection they offer is better nothing.
I would personally go with the Kapmore mask out of the 3 fabric masks as its the most comfortable, protective and versatile. Otherwise, for optimal protection, the MIRA KZD-6 is the way to go. Its made of premium Butyl rubber which unlike the fabric masks available for babies completely prevents leaks into your baby’s mask.
As you search for pollution masks for babies, you will notice these are not a widely manufactured product line but I expect with all kinds of worry about our worsening global air quality, and viral pandemics like the recent corona virus, baby’s masks will start becoming a more widely available product.
Besides the above masks one other mask I stumbled on that I think every parent needing to protect their baby should get is the Nipple Dust Mask. It is basically an antipollution mask specially tailored for babies of a few months old and older. The mask even contains a pacifier. You can have a look at on the video below.
Unfortunately, the Nipple Dust Mask is in its’s concept phase at the moment, but I hope to see it released soon. Its quite a useful tool and I don’t see why such anti-pollution masks are not yet mainstream.
Other Ways To Keep Your Baby Safe From Pollution
So, I have shown you the various masks that I discovered work best for babies and young children. If you are the unfortunate parent whose baby just won’t wear a mask, do not be dismayed.
You might struggle to keep your child safe if you are outdoors but if you are indoors, you can easily make sure your child is breathing good quality air. The best way to keep your baby’s air quality at its best indoors is to use an air purifier.
There are many different types of air purifiers out there but briefly put, these devices provide you with good quality air by sucking up the dirty air in your home, passing it through some filters or a reaction chamber to get rid of the pollutants and finally releasing the cleaned air back into your home.
Air purifiers are not only available for homes, but you can also use these in a car or even in your baby’s pram while you are taking a stroll. Besides air purifiers, you can also invest in an air quality monitor which shows you the level of pollution indoors and outdoors.
By knowing your pollution levels, you know exactly when you need to take extra action to ensure you have clean air indoors. You also know exactly when the air is terrible outside and when the air outside is good enough for you to take your baby out for fresh air. You can have a look at some awesome air quality monitors I suggest here.
Some common sense also goes a long way in preventing your baby from getting exposed to poor air quality. For example on your commute, plan to stay away from busy motorways, and simply limit how much time your child spends outside.
If you plan to take your child around in a stroller, invest in a high clearance stroller. This will ensure your baby is above 2 feet (60cm) from the ground which is the level at which pollution is the worst when you are walking around in the street.
In conclusion, my take is, give baby pollution masks a try and make sure you are using them together with all other approaches I have shown you to improve your baby’s air quality. If the mask thing does not work out for you, then do your best to minimize your baby’s exposure to pollution by using the alternative approaches I have mentioned.