With many kids going back to school this week, chances are you’ve been looking for some new cloth masks for your kids.The good news is that masks are widely available for kids, but the bad news is that they weren’t all created equal.
With the requirement for everyone except children under the age of 2 to wear masks when they go out in public, experts have warned that not all face coverings offer the same kind of protection. In fact, there’s one kind you definitely want to avoid buying – masks with exhalation valves.
According to a recent update from Mayo Clinic, masks with exhalation valves are not recommended for kids because researchers have learned that they don’t protect others from COVID-19 and don’t limit the spread of the virus. This is because the one-way valve allows unfiltered air to be released when you breathe out, which can “allow infectious respiratory droplets to spread outside the mask.”
This is echoed by the World Health Organization’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. Masks with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled out through the holes in the material,” says the CDC’s website.
“This can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, the CDC does not recommend using masks if they have an exhale valve or vent.”
This kind of cloth mask has become quite popular with parents because they say the valve makes it easier for their kids to breathe, but basically, it defeats the whole objective of trying to contain the dangerous virus. The point is that if your kid is going to wear a cloth mask for long periods of time, it might as well be effective.
Content editor and writer on Living & Loving, Sonya has over 25 years experience in the media industry. She edited Living & Loving magazine for six-and-a-half years and is the former editor of Longevity magazine. She’s won numerous media industry awards and is passionate about the health and wellbeing of moms and children.
Outside of work, she enjoys trying out recipes, reading crime mysteries and thrillers, practicing yoga, and exploring new destinations.
Learn more about Sonya Naudé.