Assessing the wearability of facemasks among children to protect them from air pollution08.06.2020
In this pilot study, an assessment was carried out to understand the perceived wearability of three facemasks (Vogmask, TuHao and ReSpimask) marketed in the UK as being designed to protect children against exposure to air pollution.
Twenty-four primary school children wore each facemask during a standardised walking and running activity. After each activity, the children were asked to rate facemask wearability in terms of parameters, such as perceived comfort, hotness, breathability and fit. At the end of the trial, the children compared and identified their preferred facemask.
The main complaint about the facemasks was the children’s faces being too hot. The ReSpimask was most frequently reported as being perceived to be the hardest to breathe through. The TuHao facemask was the only adjustable strap mask assessed but was reported to be difficult to adjust. Facemasks with a nose clip were frequently rated highest for fit (TuHao and Vogmask). The patterned, cloth fabric Vogmask had significantly higher ratings for appearance and perceived fit.
The results show children’s perceptions of facemasks are highly affected by the facemask’s design, hotness and perceived breathability. By making children’s facemasks more appealing, breathable, cooler and improving their fit, wearability may be improved.
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