If you have kids, there's no need for us to tell you how hard it is to be a parent during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In addition to finding ways to keep themselves safe and healthy, parents also have to worry about whether or not they're doing everything they can to make sure their kids don't get sick. To do so, you might be wondering if it's worth investing in face shields. To answer the questions of concerned parents, we talked to experts to find out whether it's worth it to get a face shield for your kids or not.
What are the benefits of face shields?
You might be surprised to hear thatthe CDC does not officially recommend the use of face shields as a prevention measure due to there not being enough evidence of their effectiveness. However, this does not mean that parents should immediately cast aside this option, according to Leann Poston, M.D., M.B.A., M.Ed, a pediatrician and assistant dean and director of admissions at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.
"Since there is a clear barrier between your child's mucus membranes (eyes, nose, and mouth) and droplets from other people, face shields should be effective against the droplet spread of COVID-19," Dr. Poston tells POPSUGAR. "However, there is not a lot of research on the subject, and experts are split on whether face shields can replace face makes. Unlike face masks, they do not provide an airtight barrier and therefore cannot fully protect you."
Despite the lack of research, according to Dr. Poston face shields bring several benefits to the table. For example, they can protect the eyes from droplets and provide a barrier that may decrease the tendency to touch your face as well. In addition, if your child has a condition that prevents them from wearing a face mask, face shields can come in especially handy.
"Like so many things, a face shield is probably more effective than nothing, so may be used for kids who won't or can't wear a mask," Corey Fish, M.D., pediatrician and chief medical officer at Brave Care, tells POPSUGAR. "But a mask will always offer more in the way of preventing the spread to others than a shield."
What should you pay attention to when buying a face shield for your kids?
"The biggest factor to consider when buying a face shield for your child is size," says Dr. Polson. "It should cover the child's face from forehead to below the chin and from ear to ear." She also says that it is important to pick a face shield that is easy to sanitize. After all, wearing a dirty face mask would do more harm than good.
Kimberly Volk, ND, RN, a naturopathic doctor with Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and COVID-19 ICU nurse, also says that it is very important for parents to make wearing a face shield a fun experience and their kids, rather than cumbersome or a chore.
How do the experts feel about wearing a mask and a face shield together for kids?
If you choose to buy a face shield for your kid, experts agree that you should do it as an additional prevention measure. Dr. Kimberly emphasizes that while face shields are effective in keeping your breathing space free from aerosols, they are by all means not to replace face masks. But if you're concerned about respiratory issues due to wearing a face mask and face shield together, don't worry. "In my experience, most kids we see tolerate a mask completely fine with no reduction in ability to get adequate oxygen into their bodies," says Dr. Fish. And as face shields offer a lot more breathing space than face masks do, your kids will be breathing just fine.