3M Tech Update: Children and P2/N95 Respirators

Given that poor air quality has been present for such a long time and remains a concern, there are new considerations for the effectiveness and use of the P2 facemasks and with school holidays nearing the end, parents are questioning what to do with their children when the air quality is still poor.

Does 3M have a P2 or N95 respirator for children in Australia & New Zealand?

In many countries, respirators are not currently approved by government certification agencies or standards for use on children for general emergencies, such as air quality alerts. As a result, 3M does not make respirators—including disposable P2 or N95 models—specifically for children in Australia and New Zealand. 3M respirators that are currently available are designed to fit adults, are tested on adults, certified for use by adults, and have user instructions written for adults. Some of our adult respirators may fit certain children but guidance should be followed from local health authorities on how to protect children during air quality alerts. We do not recommend putting any type of material directly over the face of an infant or toddler. Infants and toddlers should never be given respirators due to the risk of choking and suffocation.

What are some considerations to be aware of related to respiratory protection for children?

If a parent decides to provide a respirator to a child (such as when directed to do so by health authorities), the parent must understand that he/she is willing to accept several risks for their child. This includes but is not limited to the following considerations:

  • A respirator must form a good seal to the face to be effective. Children’s faces may be too small to obtain a good seal on respirators that were designed for faces of adults. Every child's face is unique and some children may have a face that is as large as an adult.
  • It is possible that some children will not be mature enough to use a respirator correctly.
  • Infants and toddlers should never be given respirators due to the risk of choking and suffocation.
  • All respirators have certain performance features and it is very important that all instructions are read and understood before providing a respirator to anyone.
  • It is important to realize that misuse of a respirator may result in sickness or death.

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