FDA Clears First Single-Use Face Mask for Children

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the Kimberly-Clark pediatric/child face mask, designed to be worn in hospitals and healthcare facilities to help reduce the spread of airborne respiratory tract bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.

The mask is designed to fit children ages 5 years to 12 years. Children do not breathe as forcefully as adults, particularly children with respiratory infections, so the face mask is less resistant to airflow than an adult mask.

"Children are not small adults," says Susan Cummins, MD, chief pediatric medical officer at FDAs Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "This pediatric face mask helps fill an unmet need for medical devices that are specifically designed for childrens unique anatomy and growing bodies."

Performance tests reviewed by the FDA showed that air flow and filtering ability of the mask were appropriate for children. The mask, cleared on Sept. 23, 2011, includes specific fitting instructions for the adult who assists the child in using the device. Adult supervision of any child wearing a face mask is an important safety recommendation.

The mask should not be used on patients showing signs of shortness of breath, chest pain, chest pressure, indrawing of the lower chest wall, dizziness, or confusion.

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