Best Cloth Masks for Kids

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

38 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
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542 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best cloth masks for kids

Last Updated September 2020

Wearing masks in public spaces helps keep the wearer and others safe, whether from COVID-19 or from colds, flu, and other viruses. It's vital to choose the right cloth mask for a child so they'll be comfortable wearing it. This is especially important if your child's school district has recommended the use of masks in the classroom, as the child could be wearing the mask for very long stretches of time.

There's plenty to think about when choosing a cloth mask for a child. It should fit well and be made from comfortable, breathable materials so your child will tolerate wearing it. Check that your chosen mask has enough layers of fabric to hinder virus transmission and consider whether you'd like a built-in filter or a filter pocket.

In this guide, we provide the information you need to choose a suitable mask for your child. We also include our top five cloth masks for kids so you can see some of the best on offer.

The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of two wears a mask in areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Key considerations

Layers of fabric

It's vital that a cloth face mask has enough layers of fabric to adequately trap viruses and prevent their spread. Cloth masks for kids need a minimum of two layers of fabric to do any good — a single-layer mask just won't cut it. However, studies have shown that masks with three layers do a significantly better job of preventing the spread of COVID-19 than those with two layers. The trade-off is that they feel hotter to wear and are less easy to breathe through. As such, you may prefer to put a two-layer mask on your child on hot days or for extended use and a three-layer mask on your child on cool days or for shorter periods of use.

Filters

Some kids' cloth masks come with replaceable filters or at least a pocket in which to insert a filter. As we mentioned, three-layer masks are more effective than two-layer masks, and that's because the middle layer acts as a filter. With a removable filter, however, you can take it out and replace it when it becomes saturated, which is great when your child needs to wear a mask for a long period. Dedicated filters are generally more effective at trapping and keeping out viruses than just an extra layer of cotton or polyester, so they offer more protection.

Straps

The straps on a cloth face mask keep it in place. The majority of cloth masks have elastic straps that rest behind the ears, but some have cloth straps that tie at the back of the head. Masks with elastic straps are easier for children to put on and take off by themselves, so they're the best option for use when you won't be around to help — at school, for instance. Tie straps are great for kids who find straps behind the ears irritating. Some elastic straps feature toggles to make them adjustable, which helps create a better fit.

Materials

Natural materials are more breathable than synthetics and therefore more comfortable. Cotton is probably the most common natural mask material, but you can also find some bamboo masks, which are soft and more environmentally friendly than cotton. Cotton jersey is a super-soft option to consider if your child finds standard cotton too scratchy, but it does feel warmer to wear. Synthetics and blends like polyester and polycotton aren't as breathable and therefore can feel warmer, but some people find them perfectly comfortable.

EXPERT TIP

To maintain the integrity of the elastic, consider air drying cloth masks. Lay the mask flat and place it in direct sunlight if possible.


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Features

Patterns

Many cloth masks for kids feature patterns designed to appeal to children, such as space scenes, animals, stars, and rainbows. Of course, color and pattern make no difference in how the mask works, but it can be important to kids. Children are more likely to wear their masks without fuss if they love the print. You might decide to let your kids choose the fabric of their mask from a few options so that they feel like they had a say in the matter.

Fit

The fit of a kids' cloth mask is hugely important. The snugger the fit, the more effectively it will work. It should fit snugly under the chin and over the nose with as few gaps as possible. Some masks are contoured to help get a good fit. These tend to have fewer gaps than masks that are simply rectangular in shape.

Nose wire

A built-in nose wire helps create a snug fit around the nose. While a good fit is important to make the mask effective, a tight fit on the nose can make a huge difference to kids who wear glasses. By using the nose wire to avoid gaps around the nose, their glasses are significantly less likely to steam up, which solves a big problem with some cloth masks

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Avoid kids' cloth masks with valves. The wearer could actually inhale virus particles through them.

Cloth masks for kids: prices

Cloth masks for kids range in price depending on various factors, including the number to a pack (it usually costs less per mask to buy in bulk), the fabric used, and the overall quality.

Budget: Inexpensive cloth masks for kids cost between $2 and $5 per mask. These are often part of large multi-packs and are made from simple, plain materials.

Mid-range: Mid-priced cloth masks for kids cost roughly $5 to $10 per mask. You will find masks with fun patterns and high-quality construction here.

High-end: The priciest cloth masks for kids cost from $10 to $15 per mask. At this price point, you can expect top-notch masks made from the best materials. They're usually sold individually, as single masks cost more per piece than multi-packs.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some cloth masks for kids are reversible, so you can enjoy two colors or patterns for the price of one.

Tips

  • Check how many masks you get in a pack. Although some cloth masks are sold individually, others are sold in packs of two to eight. You'll generally need at least a few in rotation because they must be washed immediately after each use.
  • Look at the dimensions of any cloth mask you're considering. Kids' masks are generally designed to fit younger kids. Teens tend to need adult-size masks. Some parents of late-elementary kids (ages 8 to 10) find their kids are large enough to need an adult size, too.
  • Make wearing a mask fun. To encourage young kids to wear their masks, try turning it into a game, or at least make it seem like a fun new experience. With kids who are old enough to understand, you can talk about how it's our responsibility to wear masks to help keep others and ourselves safe.
Cloth masks should be changed once they become damp. If your child will be wearing a mask for extended periods, they will likely need a spare.

FAQ

Q. Do cloth masks for kids really help prevent the spread of viruses?
A.
Yes, absolutely. However, there needs to be adequate adherence to mask-wearing by the majority in order for them to work. A cloth mask serves as a barrier, catching droplets as the wearer breathes, coughs, and sneezes. As such, it mainly protects others around the wearer rather than the wearer themself. Of course, if everyone who can wear a mask does wear a mask, you and your child will also be protected since the people around you will be wearing masks, too.

Even though kids don't tend to get serious symptoms of COVID-19, they can still spread the virus and are more likely to do so with few or no symptoms because parents may not realize they're carrying it.
 

Q. Why choose cloth face masks over disposable masks?
A.
In times of limited supply, experts may advise that medical-grade disposable masks be saved for healthcare professionals and others who urgently need them. You could buy lower-grade disposable masks that aren't suitable for medical use, but cloth masks offer several advantages. They are washable and reusable, which can save you money over time. Reusing cloth masks is also more friendly to the environment. Many people also find cloth masks more comfortable with a better fit.
 

Q. When and where should my child wear a cloth face mask?
A.
In an epidemic or pandemic situation your child should wear a cloth mask anywhere that it's difficult to maintain a reasonable distance from others. This includes indoor spaces such as grocery stores or libraries. It may also include outdoor spaces, especially when multiple children play together.

Since viruses transmit much more easily indoors than outdoors, you may want your kid to wear a mask in indoor public spaces even when it is possible to maintain social distancing.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
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    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
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    Lauren
    Writer
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    Web Producer
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    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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