Here’s what you need to know about N95 and KN95 masks sold to children

If the wave of Omicron cases has you wanting to up your mask game for your family, especially your school-aged children, then you’re probably looking for more protective face masks — and maybe you’re losing in the water soup. alphabet as you wade through come-ons for N95, KN95 and more. We’re here to take some of the guesswork out of your search with kid-friendly recommendations on four-ply masks, five-ply masks, and even reusable masks.

The biggest piece of advice we can give you right off the bat is this: beware of buyers, especially masks that claim to be rated N95 for children.

An N95 mask is a respirator that filters 95% of air particles (when properly worn and fitted), as approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). A KN95, on the other hand, is a mask that evokes a child-sized N95. But, unlike the N95, there is no KN95 which has been officially evaluated by a US government agency. (KN95 is an international designation, not a US designation.)

That said, a KN95 mask may well offer more protection than, say, a cloth mask. Compared to N95s, KN95s tend to be cheaper and, given the current high demand, easier to find in stock.

The masks listed below are best described as N95 inspired masks for kids. The list was compiled by our sister team at CBS Essentials, who also produced an N95 mask buying guide.

Let’s get to the list.

Happy Life Kids KF94 (pack of 20)

(Photo: Amazon)

These four-layer masks are individually wrapped, made of eco-friendly material, and claim to meet Korean standard KF94 (94% filtration efficiency). Reviewers recommend this size for older kids.

Happy Life Kids KF94 (pack of 20), $33

33 on Amazon

AirPop Kids Reusable Face Mask (4 Pack)

AirPop Kids Reusable Face Mask (4 Pack)
(Photo: Staples)

These masks are made with a soft foam that fits over your child’s nose. The design prevents fogging of the glasses and prevents the mask from touching the face for easier breathing. The dyes and prints used for these masks are gentle on the skin and hypoallergenic for young skin.

AirPop Kids Reusable Face Mask (4-Pack), $24

24 at Staples

WellBefore KN95 children’s masks

WellBefore KN95 children's masks
(Photo: WellBefore)

These individually wrapped face masks are only $1.49 each. They are made up of five layers (for children 5 to 12 years old) or four layers (for 2 to 4 years old). Their ear loops are adjustable and they have a moisture-wicking inner layer. Find them in three sizes for children.

WellBefore KN95 Kids Masks, $1.49

1.49 at WellBefore

Powecom Respirator Mask for Children KN95-SM (Pack of 10)

WellBefore KN95 children's masks
(Photo: Bona Fide Masks)

This breathable multi-layer KN95 mask can be purchased in packs of 10 (or more).

Powecom Kids KN95-SM Breathing Mask (10-Pack), $12.50

12:50 p.m. at Bona Fide Masks

Happy Masks Pro

Happy Masks Pro Children's Mask
(Photo: Happy Masks)

This five-layer mask is lightweight and breathable. Its design leaves room around the nose and mouth for more comfort, and its ear straps are adjustable. This mask can be washed up to 50 times. Pre-order now to receive your mask mid-February.

Pro Happy Masks, $24

24 at Happy Masks

Brookwood Medical Children’s Disposable Face Masks (30 Pack)

Brookwood Medical Children's Disposable Face Mask
(Photo: Brookwood Medical)

Choose from all kinds of kid-friendly prints in this four-layer disposable face mask. Brookwood Medical is currently taking pre-orders to ship the week of January 17. The design of the mask prevents yawning and it doesn’t cling to their mouth.

Brookwood Medical Children’s Disposable Masks (30-pack), $35 (was $50)

35 at Brookwood Medical