Experts Weigh In On the Kind Of Masks Children Should Be Wearing In School

TODAY

We’re two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and, unfortunately, the omicron variant is continuing to spread like wildfire. Though the variant is less severe than the ones in the past, it’s extremely contagious, which is why numbers of cases have been skyrocketing.

As we head into a new year, we’re all wondering how to keep ourselves safe. And while the first method of defense is to get vaccinated, it’s also important that you wear the proper protection when out and about—aka a mask.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding just how effective masks are at protecting against COVID-19, and here’s the truth: They ARE effective. It just depends on the type of mask and the fit of the mask against the face.

In a recent TODAY segment, NBC investigative and consumer correspondent Vicky Nguyen refreshed our memories on the kinds of masks people should be wearing. Nguyen says that cloth masks are great, so long as they are two layers and made of a high-quality material.

However, the most protective masks are going to be surgical masks, most notably, the KN95 or N95 masks, which are designed to filter out 95% of particles, like the ones that carry COVID. Nguyen recommends that whether you’re vaccinated or not, that you wear a mask like this, especially if you’re in an indoor public space, but also if you’re outside and aren’t able to socially distance.

The fit of your mask is also important—make sure it’s fully over your mouth and fits snug around your nose. KN95 or N95 masks reign in this category, and protect against the virus the best, but they can be slightly more uncomfortable than the others.

So that leads us to the question a lot of parents might be wondering: What kinds of masks should their kids be wearing? Since KN95 or N95 masks don’t usually come in kid sizes and can be tough to keep on all day in the classroom, Nguyen has a better recommendation.

Nguyen suggests that kids utilize only kid-sized surgical masks (not adult-sized ones—there’s a huge difference in size and, thus, effectiveness!). You want to get one that snuggly fits over you child’s face. After that, you’ll want to add a cloth mask on top of it. Two layers if best!

Learn more about mask recommendations for youngins (and adults, too) in the video below.

What kinds of masks do you and your kids wear?