There has been a lot of discussion about the efficacy of neck gaiters, the bandana-like tube worn around the face and neck, when it comes to COVID-19. Competing studies have been done, and while one study initially alluded to neck gaiters being worse than wearing no mask at all, a second study was conducted refuting that. We've taken a look at the studies and consulted various doctors, and all signs point to neck gaiters being a fine option for slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Neck gaiters have been around for awhile and are popular among athletes. They're an easy mask option for kids, especially because they aren't as irritating around the ears and make it a little easier to breathe and talk. However, proper mask protocol should still be followed, according to guidelines from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, even with a neck gaiter and even on kids. Danelle Fisher, MD, FAAP, pediatrician and vice chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, doesn't love neck gaiters but noted that slightly thicker fabrics will better slow the spread of any germs. She added, though, "I would recommend parents have their child use a mask over a gaiter for protection."
Mike Bell, MD, deputy director of the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, added, "Make sure the mask fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face and covers the nose and mouth." Even with a neck gaiter, you want to make sure it fits your child's head snugly so there is less of a chance of germs getting in and out. Most neck gaiters are made with a fairly thin fabric, but you can opt to layer them. Your child may not love wearing two masks, but they'll be more protected, according to Dr. Bell.
Ahead, we've picked out a few child-size neck gaiters that you can shop for your kids and feel confident sending them out wearing. Just make sure they know not to take the masks on and off more than necessary, and to wash their hands if they touch it.