Kids Mask Buying Tips
Finding masks for kids is not hard these days, but buying high quality masks designed for kids masks can be. This was why our company Straz Gear was started. We wanted to help educate parents and care givers to make their choice easy and affordable. Their are tons of kids mask choices and knowing what works best can be overwhelming! There are so much mask options available. But finding the highest quality and knowing what makes for the highest quality can take a lot of time and research.
The three main face mask styles are:
- Cup style masks / respirator masks (These should be saved for Health Care Workers)
- Single use 3-ply surgical / medical style masks (both medical grade & non-medical grade)
- Re-usable material masks (home made & store bought)
Checklist of things to look for in a medical/surgical style face mask:
- Filtration ability
- Fit to the face
- Comfort for wearing
- Price point
- Imported masks from other Countries VS Made in Canada
- Testing, Certifications & Canadian Government Licensing
- Filtration of the Mask
One of the most important features in mask is how well the mask filters out small germ sized particles. Make sure the packaging on your mask shows what its filtration rating are. If the masks have had lab testing, they will have a “BFE” rating shown as a %. BFE (bacterial filtration efficiency) tests a mask ability to block out small germ sized particles. The range for a high quality filtration mask is between 95% to 98%. This is the same level of filtration used in health care.
2. Fit To The Face
A good fit to the face will help prevent air from entering and leaving the nose & mouth that is not being filtered by the masks material. The more gaps there are, the less effective the mask will be blocking small particles. This is why its good to use a kids sized mask for children. See our sizing guide here. A better fitting kids sized mask will be helpful. Features to look for in a kids masks for fit are: 1) metal nose wire 2) a mask size of 95mm x 145mm 3) proper sized elastic ear bands. There should be little gapping around the nose, the cheeks and the bottom of the chin.
3. Comfort To Wear
For children, two things should be considered with comfort 1) How it feels on the face & ears 2) Do the kids feel comfortable with its look. The first point is obvious, the second is also as important. As parents, we know kids have minds of their own. The more buy in we get from them, the better. Finding a mask style or color they like is helpful with them wanting to wear a face mask. This is why Straz Gear offer a range of colors and designs. For comfort, look for masks that have extra wide ear loops. The standard size most masks use is 3mm. This narrow ear loop band can cause a lot of discomfort after time. The 5mm ear band Straz Gear uses will give extra comfort around the ear.
4. Price Point
Prices for high quality face masks have a moderate price range. The price will depend on 1)what country its made in 2) what testing it has had done 3) The filtration level of the mask. Sadly, nearly ALL kids face masks available at Canadian big box retailers are un-tested imports from overseas companies. Canadian big box retailers, grocery stores and pharmacies are making insanely high profits marking up cheap face mask imports that typically range from 300-500%. These retailers are selling masks at prices they could make fair profits with Canadian product, but not when they are buying Imports being dumped into our county. You will find high quality Canadian made masks are the same or slightly above Canadian retail stores.
5. Import Face Masks vs Made in Canada
Buying face masks made in Canada by Canadian owned companies offers buyers a more trusted product, helps support small business and creates more jobs here in Canada. Canadian companies with Health Canada licensing &, Canadian lab testing give more credibility that you are buying trusted quality.
6. Testing, Certifications and Health Canada Licensing
Points for confidence to look for when buying your face masks 1) The company has an MDEL Health Canada license 2) Canadian lab tested face masks 3) ASTM certifications. A licenced MDEL Canadian company has approval for the sale & distribution of medical grade masks. Straz Gear offer both non-medical and medical grade masks for health care. Following the guidelines for a MDEL license ensures the highest safety protocols are in place. Lab testing from a Canadian accredited lab ensure the mask samples have passed stringent testing for filtration, breathability, flame resistance, liquid penetration and flame retardancy. All of the materials used in Straz Gear masks are of the highest quality and have passed lab testing to ASTM standards. ASTM standards are North American standards labs use when testing masks for medical use. Medical grade materials used in masks offer the highest protection.