The FDA-Registered KN95 Mask My Kid Is Using at School This Year That You Need to Know About

More often than not, some of our favorite buys are small, how-didn’t-I-know-about-this products that solve an everyday problem. That’s what we’re highlighting in our Little Lifesavers series: cheap, simple purchases that you’ll use on the daily. Hit “Add to Cart” and thank us later!

© Brave Kids These face masks from Brave are FDA-registered and specifically made to fit your child’s face. Grab a pack to feel more secure sending your kid to school this year.
© Hearst Owned little lifesavers

Problem: There’s no more remote learning for most of our kids, and that means that many of us are sending our young children to school in-person again, without the added benefit of vaccines. With the Delta variant everywhere, we want amped-up protection for our kids — cloth masks aren’t going to cut it for many of us. The problem is the seeming lack of legit KN95 masks for kids.

Solution: Brave Kids’ masks — one of the first FDA-registered (similar to NIOSH-approved) KN95 face masks made specifically for kids.

My daughter just started her fifth-grade year, which marks the first time she’s been in class since third grade. She’s too young to be vaccinated, and with more and more kids getting Covid and becoming seriously ill thanks to the prevalence of the quick-spreading Delta variant, I want her to have every protection I can afford her. So I went searching for an N95 mask for my littlest learner.

© Brave Kids brave kids kn95 face mask

I knew that there were a ton of counterfeit masks on the market, and I wasn’t interested in buying bullcrap for my baby. (OK, she’s 10, but she’s still my baby.) That meant I had to put my journalist cap on and start researching. I eventually found Brave, a great company making FDA-registered, well-fitting, KN95 face masks for kids.

This is as close to NIOSH-approved as kids’ masks get, because NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, only deals with products designed for adults to use in the workplace. Children’s products are therefore out of their purview. Because of that technicality, we are reliant on the FDA and companies to regulate the goods themselves.

FDA-registered means that once it is manufactured, it is registered with the FDA, so that if it becomes recalled — or if it is found to be ineffective — there is a process to disseminate that information to purchasers. This is different from the process to becoming FDA-cleared or FDA-authorized as a medical device, though those two things often go hand in hand. One can and often is the precursor to another. However, most other masks aren’t even registered, so the process for a faulty product is not standardized. FDA-registered children’s masks are as close as we’re getting to an official mask-compliance manufacturing process right now.

© Kids’ KN95 (Pack of 20)


The Brave masks are made with five layers of breathable non-woven fabric, with two premium layers that add extra breathability and protection. They’re manufactured in a way that randomizes the filaments into a non-woven fabric, which makes a denser but breathable material according to Science Direct. The stretchy ear bands are extra soft, and the metal nosepiece helps secure a snug fit. They filter out and capture 95% of tiny 0.3 micron particles in the air, according to Brave, and that makes me feel much more secure about sending my kid back to class.

But on top of their safety, and perhaps most-importantly to my daughter, they come in lots of colors and don’t “pinch your ears.” Granted, the only color my daughter wanted me to order was black, and that also seems to be the general theme of her school clothing, but she likes the option to have other colors. ( “Mama, I’m not emo, I’m from New York City. You were just goth in high school.”)

And unlike many other KN95 masks, the masks from Brave have a covered nose piece that doesn’t start to peel off after a couple of wears. This is a big deal for parents, because you want to make sure that your kids’ masks fit right every time they put it on. I have found that once you adjust the mask to your kid’s face, it’s good to go for the week.

And yes, I do switch out the mask weekly, because I’m that level of worried at this point. Brave notes that they should be discarded after each use, but I’m being perfectly honest with you that we aren’t doing that, and I don’t think anyone else really is, either. It’s a lot of expense and a lot of waste. Though Brave does include an envelope to recycle old masks, which honestly makes me feel a whole lot better about using disposables this year.

The masks arrived just a few days after ordering them, and thankfully, don’t have a chemical industrial scent that really irritates my daughter. Essentially, they smell of paper. They loop easily on the wrist for lunchtime and for the trip to and from school, and even at the end of the week, they don’t appear frayed or damaged.

I know we’re all scared about this year. It’s a genuinely terrifying time to be a parent. Getting your kid a mask like this one may give you just a little bit more comfort and edge the panic back just a hair. Plus, fun colors, right?

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