Is it better for children to wear FFP2 infant masks ? Or is a surgical mask for children enough? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to use washable hygienic masks ? And where is it better to store the mask that they are not wearing?
Within the pandemic that we are experiencing and now that children are starting the new year in schools, all parents have questions like these … and many more.
It is completely normal that we are a bit confused because it is a new situation for everyone, both for teachers and schools, as well as for children and parents, that is why we want to help from the pharmacy so that it is easier for you to choose the best one mask for your children, and also how they should be stored, how many you have to wear, how long they “last” or can they wear the mask, etc.
The first thing we must do for our children is that they use approved masks , which are the only ones that have shown to the competent European authorities that they prevent the expulsion of fluids abroad. But of course, there is talk of so many different types of masks and so many other regulatory specifications that many people are lost among so many UNEs … and it is not surprising.
How many types of infant masks are there and what regulations must they comply with?
There are 3 types of approved masks for children , the children’s hygienic masks , the children’s surgical masks and the FFP2 filter masks for children. Within the hygienic masks we differentiate those that can be washed and those that can only be used once.
For healthy children, it is recommended to use hygienic masks that meet the technical specifications UNE 0065 (reusable washable hygienic masks) and UNE 0064-2 (non-reusable hygienic masks).
For Covid-19 positive children, with or without symptoms (positive asymptomatic), they should preferably use surgical masks with UNE specifications.
And if the masks do not comply with the regulations … Is there a problem? Are our children going to be more exposed at school?
Unfortunately there are many counterfeits and non-compliant products that are being sold on many sites. And this is drawer … if they do not comply with the regulations they will not meet the minimum requirements of breathability and efficiency, with the risk of infection that this entails.
The filtration of approved masks (in BFE tests) must be greater than 90%.
The filtration efficiency tests are carried out through the bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) according to the indications that appear in section 5.2.2 of the UNE-EN 14683: 2019 + AC: 2019 Standard.
The breathability of approved hygienic masks measured by differential pressure must be less than 60 (Pa / cm 2 ) as indicated in section 5.2.3 of the UNE-EN 14683: 2019 + AC: 2019 Standard.
Regarding the washing of hygienic masks that are reusable, those approved that meet the UNE specifications must be able to withstand at least 5 washing and drying cycles while maintaining all their benefits.
We must also take into account the sizes of the masks, because not all children’s masks (reusable or single-use) are going to adapt perfectly to the face of our children. For this reason, we must buy the size that corresponds to him according to his age and the dimensions of the masks. According to Spanish regulations the sizes are:
|REUSABLE (UNE 0065) AND NON-REUSABLE (UNE 0064-2) HYGIENIC CHILDREN’S MASKS SIZES|
|Little||3 to 5 years||From 5’5 to 13 cm.|
|Median||6 to 9 years||From 6’5 to 15 cm.|
|Big||From 9 to 12 years||From 8.5 to 17 cm.|
How do you put on children’s masks?
One of the most important things, although sometimes it is not easy to comply with, is that the wearing of masks should always be supervised by an adult.
- We must teach children to learn to put on the mask without touching their face. For this, it is quite useful to practice in front of a mirror.
- The masks are for personal and non-transferable use. They can be marked on one end with a marker or a sticker, but never sew the name or write it on the filter area of the mask for obvious reasons. It makes no sense to make holes in the layer that we want to protect our children.
- They can only reuse reusable masks. Single-use ones are not.
- To remove the mask, it must be done from the back, from the rubber bands that hold it behind the ears, without touching the front.
How long can they wear the mask? Shelf life of infant masks
The sanitary masks and surgical masks is not recommended use for more than 4 hours . If they get damp or deteriorate due to use, it is advisable to change them for the spare masks that they should carry in their backpack, stored in their mask-holder or in a cloth bag.
It is better not to disinfect them with 70º alcohol, contrary to what was thought at first, because it can worsen the filtration capacity. For this reason, you can apply an isolation and leave the mask inside a paper bag in a place where dissemination cannot occur (a bag for example) for about 7 days, so that the virus is inactivated, whenever it is necessary to prolong the use of the mask and the general recommendation for single use could not be met.
For this reason, it is necessary for children to bring another replacement mask in case they have to change it. This replacement mask should be stored in a mask box or in a paper or cloth bag to facilitate perspiration and prevent the growth of possible bacteria. Plastic bags do not perspire. In addition to facilitating perspiration, the mask container must retain the original shape of the mask and not deform it.
And when they should no longer be used … How do we get rid of them? Where do we have to throw the masks?
Infant masks should be disposed of in the household waste or waste fraction container , which is the gray container . We must not dispose of them anywhere else.
We should never throw away the masks:
- Neither on the street nor in nature. It is obvious but it seems that not everyone understands it.
- Neither in the yellow container for packaging, nor in the blue container for paper and cardboard nor in the green container for glass, nor in the organic waste container.
- Not at the sigre point of the pharmacies.
The containers that exist are:
- Orange : Organic waste.
- Yellow : Plastic and metal containers.
- Blue : Paper and cardboard.
- Green : Glass containers.
- Gray : General waste.
- Red : Infectious.
Of mandatory must wear mask only children older than 6 years but it is recommended that children between 3 and 6 years also lead them . In children younger than 3 years old, the mask is not recommended.
It is important that healthy children from 3 years old use hygienic masks always according to their size, so that they are comfortable and fit their face well, covering their mouth and nose. The issue of sizes is more important than it may seem, because if the mask does not fit enough it will not be effective.
As for the masks with FFP2 filters for children … although the filtering capacity is better than surgical or hygienic masks, they are not recommended for the little ones , because they make breathing more difficult and are much more uncomfortable, which can cause them to be touched, repositioned, and misused. Children’s FFP2 masks are only recommended for children who we already know wear them well and neither touch nor remove them.
In the case of teachers, FFP2 is recommended for adults , to create a barrier between it and a potential risk.
People who have no symptoms (asymptomatic) or with mild symptoms can transmit COVID-19. In these cases, it is better to use surgical masks to help reduce the transmission of the virus.