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As COVID-19 continues to spread around the United States and the rest of the world, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to stay healthy and protect those around you.

This includes washing your hands frequently, practicing physical distancing, and wearing a face covering, such as a face mask, when out in public.

That last one is just as important as the rest, as mask wearing has shown to be a critical tool in reducing the spread of COVID-19 — especially when used universally within communities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

And while wearing a mask yourself is an important part of preventing the spread of COVID-19, you might be wondering if your child should have a face covering of their own. The short answer? Yes.

Children over the age of 2 should be wearing face masks in public, according to the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), especially in situations where physical distancing is difficult.

While it can be challenging for some parents to get their child to wear a face mask (or wear anything that they don’t want to), it shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, according to the AAP, more than 338,000 children in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19 to date.

Just like with adults, face coverings are not necessarily as effective in preventing kids from contracting COVID-19, as much as they are in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking, and a cloth face covering acts as a barrier to help prevent the spread of those respiratory droplets,” explains Jeffrey Kahn, MD, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Children’s Health and professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

It’s also important to remember that while masks are a step in the right direction, the most effective way to protect your family from COVID-19 is by staying home and limiting your interactions with folks outside of your household as much as possible.

While you might see adults sporting surgical or N95 face masks, when it comes to kiddos, you’ll want to get them a handful of small cloth face masks.

One of the most important factors is to find one that fits their face well to help prevent them from fidgeting with it, explains Vivek Cherian, MD, an internal medicine physician based in Baltimore, Maryland.

This isn’t always the easiest task, seeing that a comfortable, well-fitting face mask is often hard to come by, even for adults.

Adjustability features such as ties or a metal nose bridge can help with this. A face mask should fit snugly over your child’s nose and mouth without any gaps and shouldn’t inhibit their ability to breathe comfortably in any way.

And if you’re making your own face masks for you and your family, the CDC recommends two layers of tightly woven 100 percent cotton.

Any children over the age of 2 should wear a mask any time they are in a public setting where physical distancing is difficult to practice, such as in a grocery store.

The only times that it’s safe for your child not to wear a mask is inside their own home, while swimming, or when playing outside with other children at a 6-foot distance.

“If your child has a developmental disability, mental health condition, or sensory disorder that makes it difficult to wear a cloth face covering, it may be best to avoid crowded places or social interactions where masks are needed,” says Kahn.

If you’re looking for guidance on how to talk to your kids about wearing face masks, be sure to check out this article with expert advice from pediatricians and developmental psychologists.

To create this list, we enlisted the help of board certified pediatricians to share their recommendations.

We also thoroughly relied on the CDC guidelines that have been set for preventing the transmission of COVID-19 in children. Customer reviews and ratings also played a role in our selections.

Price guide

  • $ = under $5 per mask
  • $$ = $5–$10 per mask
  • $$$ = over $10 per mask

Disney Cloth Face Masks

Price: $

If you have a Disney fan on your hands, The Mouse has got you covered with this 4-pack of nonmedical masks featuring beloved characters. As an added bonus, Disney has donated one million of their cloth face masks to children and families in need across the United States.

Be sure to read the sizing recommendations to determine whether your child would fit best in a youth small or a youth medium — many reviews say that these run very small, so they’re probably best for younger children (over the age of 2).

Athleta Girl Everyday Non Medical Masks

Price: $$

Athleta is known for creating clothing that’s comfortable and easy to move in, so it’s no surprise that they tapped into the mask-making game. This 5-pack of nonmedical masks, designed for ages 5 to 10, features colors that go with any outfit (hey — that’s important!) and has a wire-free design that fits securely around your child’s face.

They’re made with three layers of fabric: a lightweight outer layer and two more breathable inner layers. And, while it doesn’t say it online, our market editor has the adult version of these masks and says they’re machine washable!

Cubcoats Kids Face Masks

Price: $$

It’s hard not to love these adorable, nonmedical face masks that turn your little one into a puppy or a tiger. Designed for children ages 5 years and older, they’re made with a cotton inner layer that’s soft against your child’s skin.

The metal nose piece wraps carefully around your child’s nose for a tight and secure fit. Plus, these masks come with an inner pocket where you can add a filter for extra protection if you choose.

Nordstrom Kids Pleated Face Masks

Price: $

If your child wants their face mask to match with each and every outfit, this 4-pack is a good start! Each pack comes with a pink, blue, turquoise, and black cotton mask, each tightly woven and with a built-in filter pocket (filter not included).

They’re machine washable and reusable, so your child will get a lot of wear out of them. However, reviewers warn that because they’re 100 percent cotton, slight shrinkage may occur after washing. You’ll want to make sure that they aren’t tight upon purchase.

Baby Jack & Co. Smile Window Masks

Price: $$$

Baby Jack & Co. has created a handmade face mask that includes a translucent, plastic window so that you can see the wearer’s mouth. This is great for young children still fostering their cognitive development and learning to communicate. Honestly, we could all use a smile!

These nonmedical masks are made out of a breathable, two-ply, fabric and the “smile window” is made out of a breathable acrylic poly film. They’re machine washable and 20 percent of all sales are donated to Starlight Children’s Foundation to support families with ill children.

Green Sprouts Child Reusable Face Mask

Price: $$$

Green Sprouts is best known for their protective sun hats and clothing, so it’s no surprise that they joined in on the mask-making game. Their nonmedical masks are made of the same impressive moisture-wicking fabric that’s great for keeping your child comfortable on those hot summer days.

They come in two sizes — child and youth/adult small — with a storage bag to keep the mask clean when not in use.

Old Navy Triple-Layer Cloth Face Masks for Kids

Price: $

You can always count on Old Navy to create an affordable line of just about anything related to kids wear. And their new mask line is no exception.

These 5-packs of 100 percent cotton nonmedical masks come in plenty of different colors and patterns. They’re machine washable and fit snugly over your child’s face. There’s no age range, and they only sell one size, but reviewers say they’re great for kids ages 5 to 8.

Quality Durables Adults and Kids Reusable Face Coverings

Price: $

Tie-dye is making a comeback, so you know your kid will be into this pack of four double-layer tie-dye nonmedical masks. Made of a soft and lightweight jersey fabric, they’re breathable and comfortable thanks to fabric-wrapped loop coverings that are gentle around your child’s ears.

They also come in a variety of different colors and prints, so if tie-dye isn’t your kid’s thing they have plenty of options to choose from.