Children may require CPAP therapy to treat sleep apnea or diseases that cause respiratory insufficiency. Until recently, parents and clinicians struggled to find masks that fit well and that a young child would consent to wear. Fortunately, several products are now available to make sleep therapy for toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children more successful.
Comfort, safety, and freedom of movement are of paramount importance when selecting a mask for a child. Young children do not like objects touching their faces or getting in the way of their vision. Children are also active sleepers. Most of the masks available for children are “over the nose” type nasal CPAP masks with low profile frames and thin headgear. These design features keep the child’s field of view unobstructed. Smaller frames also keep the CPAP mask out of the way when tossing and turning.
Kids CPAP masks now have Fun features added to these child-friendly masks. The Philips Respironics Wisp uses a giraffe design on the headgear and includes a giraffe fabric wrap for the CPAP tubing. For children with tender skin, SleepWeaver offers a cloth nasal CPAP mask for pediatrics.
When selecting a mask for a young child, always read the manufacturer’s recommendations for age and weight. Follow those recommendations unless your provider indicates you can safely do otherwise. As a child ages, it is also fine to consider masks manufactured for adults. Many masks for adults have weight recommendations that start around 60 pounds. These masks may be viable options for school-age children. Masks designed “for her” may also fit school-age boys and girls better than unisex masks for adults. Nasal pillows often provide a positive therapy experience for school-age children. Do not modify masks, including headgear, in any way without speaking with the child’s clinical provider or your home health care clinician.