PPE is now on school shopping lists in many districts

By Summer Cartwright
July 25, 2020 05:00 AM
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As a parent, it can be eerie seeing your child in protective gear, like a face covering, but retailers are doing what they can to design these necessary items in a way that makes it a little less scary for kiddos to wear (and a little easier for parents to see). There are so many places offering reusable children’s face masks, and now, some school districts are considering adding face shields into the mix for both teachers and students. Furthermore, some people are opting for clear designs to enable clearer communication with those who are hard of hearing. 

For some parents who are concerned with how often their kids mess with their face masks, face shields may be the next best option — and this might be why there are now thousands of children’s face shields available on e-retailers like Etsy, Amazon, and Zazzle. The designs all consist of plastic or PVC shields, but some have added details like fun decals or connected sun hats that keep the covering in place

According to John Whyte, MD, the Chief Medical Officer at WebMD and an MSNBC healthcare correspondent, any PPE  (personal protective equipment) is good PPE, especially if it’s comfortable enough to repeatedly wear without issue. While experts agree that the N95 face mask works best (though they should be reserved for medical professionals), and cloth face masks are next in effectiveness, it can be tricky for kids to voluntarily wear face coverings for a long period of time. And, according to Dr. Whyte, finding something that the wearer won’t constantly touch or adjust is crucial.

“A shield prevents touching your face,” he says, adding that these face coverings “can offer another option for those who feel uncomfortable breathing while wearing a mask.” 

Plus, many shoppers are saying the face shields seem more viable than face masks, especially for their younger children

“I'm really grateful that I got this for my little one,” one Amazon shopper wrote in their review of a shielded sun hat. “We had a check up and I was so worried about the coronavirus since the baby is too young to wear masks... The most amazing thing is, she doesn't mind wearing it! We took her to the doctor's and she was wearing the hat in and out with no problem. Even the nurse said it's a brilliant idea to wear that. The hat gives me so much comfort.”

Dr. Whyte says the shields can also be great for those who wear glasses because they won’t cause lenses to fog up as much. He adds that the clear coverings can also have psychological benefits because they may help bring back personality through facial expressions and some normalcy to social situations. 

“I think for some people they want to see more facial expression, they want to see some of your identity, if that helps, then more power to that,” he says. 

Dr. Whyte adds that some experts believe plastic shields protect the wearer more from airborne respiratory droplets. David Edwards, Ph.D, of Harvard University and Founder of Sensory Cloud, agrees with this sentiment, but cautions that the open design isn’t as effective as a face mask when it comes to blocking smaller particles

“With smaller particles, they don’t travel like bullets, they hover in the air and below that face shield you’re still breathing in that air,” Edwards says, later adding that when it comes to protection, “anything is better than nothing.” 

But Dr. Whyte affirms that now isn’t the time to get too hung up on statistics. When it comes to weighing the options, he advises choosing whichever is more convenient. “Anything that’s going to help people wear it, it’s going to be a good thing,” he says. “At the end of the day, some might have slightly more effectiveness than the others, but we do know that masks, facial coverings, and face shields work.”

If you’re looking for an option outside of face masks, or want an additional layer of protection for your child this school year, shop 10 top-rated kids face shields available at Amazon, Etsy, and Zazzle, below.

Amazon

Buy It! Jastore Kids Boys Girl Dustproof Sun Hat, $17.99; amazon.com 

Zazzle

Buy It! Pink and Blue Tiara Crown Face Shield, $9.95; zazzle.com 

Etsy

Buy It! Kids Shield Face Mask, $17.99; etsy.com 

Amazon

Buy It! Extsud Dustproof Sunhat, $14.99 (orig. $17.99); amazon.com 

Zazzle

Buy It! Football Basketball Baseball Soccer Sports Face Shield, $9.95; zazzle.com

Etsy

Buy It! Kids Face Shields with Removable Decals, $16.95; etsy.com 

Amazon

Buy It! Unicorn Kids Baseball Hat with Plastic Shield, $18.80; amazon.com 

Etsy

Buy It! Little Kids Toddler Face Shields, $6.50; etsy.com 

Zazzle

Buy It! Cute Colorful Monsters Face Shield, $9.95; zazzle.com

Amazon

Buy It! Triworks Sun Hat with PVC Shield, $18.99; amazon.com

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