Where to buy kids' face masks now they're mandatory on public transport - and how to encourage children to wear them
As of June 15, face masks are mandatory on public transport in the UK - here's where to find one for kids
As lovely as it is to see people resuming some semblance of normality, the new normal isn't quite what we're used to. Especially when we see all those children in face masks.
As of June 15th, it's mandatory for adults and children (except the very young) to wear face masks on buses, trams, trains, tubes and planes - failure to comply can lead to a fine. Face masks are also required in Ubers. Many have already chosen to adopt face masks when out, whether to protect a vulnerable family member or just to feel more confident walking around in public.
Photo: Vera Davidova/Unsplash
According to the CDC, which helpfully has a few DIY cloth face mask templates, including how to make a face mask from an old T-shirt, children under the age of two shouldn't wear face masks. The face masks kids and adults should be wearing aren't medical-grade N-95 ones, but simple cloth designs that can be machine-washed (and should be, regularly).
As any parent who's tried to get a helmet on their wildly scooting child's head is thinking: How on earth will I be able to convince my child to wear one of these things? Parents are also worried about their children's anxiety with everything that's been going on, and the potential for face masks to cause further distress. Check out our helpful expert tips below, as well as links to a range of cute face masks for kids.
Where to find kids' face masks
Finding face masks in patterns, fun colours and lovely organic cottons that look appealing and feel soft on the skin will certainly help make face masks less scary for little ones. Here are a selection of retailers where you can buy them online:
It's no secret we're head over heels for Mori's lovely organic cotton baby clothes and sustainable ethos. They've also got a selection of organic cotton and bamboo face masks for kids in sweet prints like elephants and stripes. They're £22.50 for a pack of three.
Photo: Selfie Craft Co
Selfie Craft Co at Not On The High Street
Selfie Craft Co is a favourite brand for colour-in capes and clothes, and the brand has expanded into face masks with panda, star and rainbow prints for kids aged 4-10. The washable cotton masks can also protect kids from urban pollutants like smoke, dust and smog thanks to a removable PM 2.5 activated carbon filter. These start from £9.50 apiece.
NOHS also has a selection of printed masks, from NHS rainbows to Liberty flowers. Your kids might enjoy the colour your own fabric face mask (which includes felt tips) and the matching parent-child family masks in shark print.
Photo: Marta Scarampi
Designer Marta Scarampi has a family pack of face masks (£35 for the set) which are handmade in Torino, Italy, from organic cotton, are double lined and fitted with an adjustable wire at the nose bridge and elastic ear loops. They're lovely to look at, too.
Hype may be the go-to for any teen wanting a graffiti logo shirt and all school kids who want a space print rucksack, but it's also got a fantastic selection of kids' face masks available on the site, too. From camo to tie-dye, florals to jungle print, there's a range of prints to appeal to boys and girls.
The kids' masks come in three-packs for £24.99, and there are a range of adult styles available too. Kids' masks are made from a polyester-elastane blend, and fitted with an FFPI filter. For each mask set purchase, Hype donates a surgical mask to the NHS, a care home or a key worker in need, as well as all proceeds (they've already donated over 10,000 masks to the NHS).
Hackney-based accessories brand Goodordering may be known for its smart cycling bags, but you can also find two styles of kids' face masks online, including an origami style, made from recycled natural fabrics or fabric remnants, for £12.50 apiece.
Photo: Rachel Riley
Rachel Riley's signature prints - flowers, anchors, gingham and more - can now be found on fabric face masks, which follow a pattern recommended by France's Grenoble University Hospital and include a cotton satin lining, polyester inner layer and cotton outer. Available in sizes 3+, the masks are £19 each. Parents will be pleased to know they can get matching ones for themselves.
Kids' face masks are officially available on the high street - thanks to Mango. You'll find styles for men, women and children (in three sizes), in a range of prints. Kids' masks should be on the website shortly.
shopDisney in the US has pledged to donate a million masks to vulnerable families and children across the United States, and members of the public can preorder a range of cloth face masks which will be shipping from mid-July.
Kids will recognise their favourite characters from Disney+ films, from Marvel superheroes to princesses, as well as Star Wars favourites, Mickey & Minnie and a range of animal smiles, like Stitch and Winnie the Pooh. Masks are $19.99 for a pack of four, and come in S, M and L sizes.
Etsy has a large selection of kids' face masks in every shape and style: with disposable filters, reversible patterns, bandana silhouettes, ribbon ties and prints from Peppa Pig to skulls to Sonic the Hedgehog (and everything in between).
Photo: Alex + Nova
Alex + Nova
Alex + Nova is an indie US label known for organic cotton separates, sweet baby rompers and cutely printed sweatshirts. The brand has partnered with a manufacturer in South Korea to make organic cotton face masks (£16.23 apiece, or £12.99 if you buy two or more) in white, pink and blue, and well as a gorgeous, printed Mom + Me floral face mask set (£31.66 for three). The kids' masks come in two sizes.
From disposable face masks to bandana styles, Amazon is another destination where you can find a range of face masks, including visor-style masks and printed designs for children.
Vistaprint has a selection of Kids' Doodle Masks (£13 each) with prints like dinosaurs, outer space and smiley faces, featuring a pure cotton inner layer and replaceable filter system.
Photo: Lulu & Nat
Lulu & Nat
For a selection of kids' face masks in playful prints - bunnies, dinosaurs, parrots - try London-based Lulu & Nat. The masks are made from soft cotton with a removable inner filter, and the designs (£12 each) are hand-printed. Twinning options available, too.
US brand Cubcoats, which has a celeb following thanks to its soft toys which turn into sweatshirts, has an adorable selection of kids' face masks with smiley animal faces, which are $12.99 for two.
If you're after printed, disposable face masks, try Nuby (maker of baby bottles and pumps), which sells 10-packs for £7.99.
This online toy retailer isn't just the place to go to stock up on STEM activities - they've also got PPE-grade face masks for kids. The reusable KN95 face masks, fitted with exhalation valves, are £24.99 for a pack of 2 for a pack of 2.
Photo: Isabel Manns
Reversible womenswear designer Isabel Manns is making beautifully printed face masks using surplus fabrics. While these aren't available in kids' sizes, we had to include them as they're perfect for teens and their parents, made of cotton or satin, with elasticated ear loops (£10 apiece). All proceeds go to the NHS.
Thumbsie designs thumb coverings to help children stop sucking on their thumbs. The brand has also started making children's face masks with elastic in a selection of pleasing cotton prints, like pandas, pirates and stars (they're £35 for a 4-pack).
Scandi stroller brand Noordi has well-priced anti-microbial face masks for kids, made of a cotton polyester blend and available in a selection of colours, for £6.49 apiece, at Samuel Johnson (adult sizes are also available).
Photo: The Cool Face Mask
The Cool Face Mask
UK-based The Cool Face Mask's antimicrobial Q-SKIN fibre face masks for kids are made in Italy, come in red or navy shades, and cost £8.99 for a pack of two. They can be washed up to 30 times and are also waterproof.
Face masks on planes
Some airlines are facilitating the flying process by providing face masks for children on flights. easyJet has teamed up with Marvel Comics illustrator Will Sliney, who's created a limited-edition of printed face masks for kids in Lion and Pilot prints for kids flying across Europe this summer - ideally, they'll be worn over a young traveller's own mask, and kids can take them home and keep them.
DIY face masks
As parents are trying to teach their children "life skills" (anything to avoid homeschooling at this point!), we're hoping we'll emerge from lockdown with our kids able to cook a meal, load the washing machine and sew on a button. Well, why not a face mask?
Alison Riley of The Fashion Factory has a handy step-by-step video tutorial showing you how to upcycle fabric into a DIY face mask, while Christopher Kane has a DIY mask pattern you can download here (bonus: you can teach the next gen about British fashion greats while in lockdown).
Photo: Mladen Borisov/Unsplash
How to make face masks more palatable to kids
We asked Professor Margareta James, a behavioural and mind management expert at the Harley Street Wellbeing Clinic, for her top tips on how to introduce face masks to children - and encourage them to wear them. If they want customise their face mask with stickers, it could help...
On explaining face masks to children
It needs to be an honest conversation depending on their age and level of understanding. We need to keep away from too much detail as children have an incredible ability to continue thinking about things and fill in details they don’t understand - sometimes by making things scarier than they are. So as long as they understand that it can help keep away illnesses, it's good.
On dealing with uncertainty and anxiety around the virus
They are not in direct danger of the virus in a lockdown situation and they need to understand the importance of hygiene, hand washing when necessary (not too much as I have seen children who were overdoing this!) and keeping a safe distance at the moment. We can also playfully explain the wonderful role our immune system is playing and this relates to what we eat, exercise and sleeping well, so they can understand the importance of a healthy routine. It is an uncertain time for everyone including children, so it is crucial that we help them in the best possible way to understand what is happening, if possible in a playful way.
What to do if a child refuses to wear a mask
If they refuse to wear it - we need to understand why they are protesting. We need to understand their ‘why’ - when we do, then we can gently influence them in understanding why it can be important at the time we are asking them to wear one. However, if children feel uncomfortable wearing a mask - making them wear one can be worse as it increases the likelihood of them touching their faces more! So there is a balance to be found here.
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