I have a new favorite thing in my life: face shields (for kids and adults)!
It turns out, face shields are a wonderful, underrated tool in the PPE arsenal. I know, they are not big in the US… YET. But I’m hoping to change that. There are many reasons why I’m a huge fan…
Unlike medical-grade masks, face shields don’t require special materials and can be made rapidly and cheaply.
Face shields are extremely comfortable. After a while, you forget you’re even wearing it. Your breathing is not impeded, it doesn’t get hot, and it doesn’t fog up your glasses.
My personal favorite reason: you get to drink with a straw without having to take it off. #outdoorhappyhour #truestory
For kids… it’s very easy to communicate with face shields, primarily because they still allow you to read facial expressions. This is especially important in school settings (and among little children still learning language), as teachers are particularly concerned about the communication barriers masks present. “We can’t even offer them a smile,” one teacher from the Bronx said.
Also? With face shields, lip reading is possible for those who are hard of hearing.
But, don’t ditch your face masks yet. There are some important distinctions to make about how and when face shields are best used. Spoiler alert: they’re not an equal swap for a mask at all times.
Boiling down the many papers we read, here’s the skinny:
Scientists previously thought that COVID, much like most respiratory illnesses (such as influenza), spread primarily through larger particles that we emit anytime we cough, sneeze, breathe, talk, sing, etc. However, numerous studies and experts are now suggesting that COVID can also be transmitted through smaller, lighter aerosolized particles. Unlike the heavier droplets, aerosols can linger in the air for longer periods of time, especially in enclosed, indoor spaces with poor ventilation.
Thus, there is good evidence to suggest that COVID is transmitted through both droplets and aerosols. All of this suggests that face shields could be a great backup option in certain settings:
- Outdoors: where the build-up of small airborne particles is less of a concern.
- Among young children: face shields are a good option for kids who are not yet developmentally capable of keeping a face mask on – or for kids who weren’t planning on wearing a mask.
- Eating/Drinking Out: since you can eat and drink with a face shield on (sort of), these are ideal for outdoor dining and drinking, and actually provide more protection than a mask since you have to take your mask off to eat and drink. Some also wear face shields while eating at work so they don’t have to forgo protection altogether.
- As an additional PPE (with a mask): using a face shield over a mask is doubling down on PPE. If you have any underlying risk factors, are nervous about going out generally, live somewhere where viral counts are high, or have a high-risk sort of interaction/outing (ie, seeing your elderly parents or going into a crowded, indoor space), using a face shield along with a mask is a great way to maximize protection. See also: Chances Are – Evaluating Your Personal Risk for Re-entry
Yes: experts agree that for optimal protection, you should use face shields along with — not in place of — face masks (and your best physical distancing practices).
Here are some of our favorite face shields for children and adults:
Face Shields we ❤️
Zverse ZShield ~ $19
These ultra-lightweight “bottom-up” shields allow for total visibility for facial expressions.
These are ideal for kids who can still maintain some distance from others, as they are not totally enclosed. They adjust up easily for active engagement and down for idle circumstance.
Those we spoke to who own the Zverse ZShield say you forget you’re even wearing it. They also have awesome wrap-around shields for adults.
For adults, we love the ZShield Wrap, which provides protection from the neck and UP (instead of top down).
Zazzle ~ $8.95
These shields from Zazzle are cheaper and allow for better peripheral vision (the graphics are less distracting).
Toddler and Kid’s Face Shields ~ $14 for 2
We haven’t tried these ourselves, but these 2 or 6-packs are good for the younger crowd, ages 2 – 7. #amazonprime #justsayin
This eyeglass-style shield from Amazon is a favorite among friends in the restaurant business. It goes on like a pair of glasses, so there’s no strap around the head. Speaking of glasses, you can still wear them with this shield.
That’s a wrap, folks (get it?).
Good luck and out there and stay safe ~