Is it safe for a child to sleep with an eye mask? Read this to find out and learn the pros and the cons, when not to wear one, and what to look for in a sleep mask.
It's a question that many parents have asked themselves. Eye masks for kids provide many benefits like improved sleep quality. But they also come with safety concerns.
Off the bat, babies and very young children shouldn't be allowed to use a sleep mask. We recommend an age of 6 years old and up. Equally important is if your child isn't capable of removing a sleep mask by themselves, don't allow them to sleep with one. No matter their age.
In this blog post, we'll answer the question: "Is it safe for a child to sleep with an eye mask?" Read on for the benefits and potential risks of letting your child sleep with one. Plus, factors to consider when choosing the best sleep mask.
Sleep masks may help children get the rest they need. And it doesn't just benefit them, either. It'll also help you as a parent. Keep reading to find out.
It’ll improve sleep quality.
A sleep mask for kids works by blocking out light. And this is a great thing, whether that's from electronic devices like tablets, night lights, or street lamps. Here's why.
Light signals the body to be up and alert. Darkness, on the other hand, does the opposite. It cues the body that it's time to wind down.
Complete darkness also tells the brain to start melatonin production. This hormone is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle.
Light can also lead to sleep interruptions (or awakenings). These impact the transition between sleep stages.
And humans (big or small) need to progress through all the sleep cycles to get restful sleep. Otherwise, they end up sleepy and moody during the day.
A sleep mask for kids can help your child drift off faster and stay asleep longer. This improved sleep quality leads to better focus during the day, as well as good behavior in school and at home.
It’s a good addition to a consistent bedtime routine.
Setting a consistent sleep-wake schedule is key to your child getting adequate sleep. Apart from that, a pre-bedtime routine helps them wind down from the excitement of their day.
A typical bedtime routine for your kids could include dimming the lights, taking a warm bath, getting into their pajamas and into bed. And let's not forget a bedtime story from you.
Slipping on a sleep mask helps regulate their sleep environment by keeping things dark. It's also an appropriate final touch. Like saying: "Hey, lights out for real. It's time for bed."
Now, what if you aren't comfortable allowing your child to wear one every night? Use one only when they're having difficulty going to bed instead. It’ll give them that extra boost to get the restful sleep they deserve.
Once sleep is back on track, you can save the sleep mask for when your child needs it next.
A sleep mask is handy for naps and travel.
It can be difficult to get your kid to nap. It's even harder while in the air or on the road. Who has time for a nap when the sun is out, the grown-ups are up and I’m counting clouds or cars?
Light and daytime activities distract your child from resting. A sleep mask for kids blocks out light and can help them fall asleep quicker.
It's convenient, too. Easy to pack and use in a snap.
It makes your child's bedtime more enjoyable for you both.
When it comes to bedtime, the struggle is real for many parents. Sometimes they dread it as much as their kid does. And who can blame them? They're just as exhausted.
You already know that a sleep mask may help your child sleep better. And there’s a big chance your kid will, too. You’ll probably have to endure fewer requests for one more story or a straight-out refusal to sleep.
You can both look forward to bedtime as the last (but certainly not the least) bonding session of the day. Plus, you'll likely beat the monster under the bed by T.K.O. Your kid will be too busy enjoying their stay in dreamland.
In addition, now that the most important activity of the night is done (and done well), you'll be in a better mood to spend extra quality time with yourself.
So now you know: a sleep mask for kids has its benefits. However, it's equally important to know when not to let your child wear one for safety concerns.
When Not to Wear a Sleep Mask: The Risks
There are certain situations wherein wearing an eye mask may be not safe or beneficial for your child. Here's what you should be concerned about.
This is the main sleep mask concern for babies and young children. There’s a risk of strangulation in the event the mask is yanked off by sudden movement. That’s why it's a no-no for them.
If your child is old enough and able to wear one, pay attention to the fit of the strap. It's crucial to ensure it fits snugly but isn't overly tight around their head. Double-check how tight it is after putting it on and adjust accordingly.
Overheating and Breathing Risks
Sleep masks made from non-breathable fabric can cause overheating if worn too long or during warm weather. If your child is prone to overheating while sleeping, then you should avoid using this type of sleep mask.
In addition, if your child has asthma or any other breathing difficulties that could worsen due to heat, then you should avoid using one altogether.
Skin Irritation Risk
If your child has sensitive skin or is prone to allergies, make sure to check the fabric of the sleep mask you're eyeing. Look for hypoallergenic options or masks that have been tested for potential allergens.
If your child develops an allergy while wearing one, discontinue using STAT and call your pediatrician.
Blurred Vision Risk
Typical sleep masks tend to put direct pressure on the eyes. They're usually made from a single piece of fabric, leaving no breathing room for your child's peepers.
Just so you know direct pressure reduces blood flow and may cause blurred vision. Therefore, it's not safe to allow your child to wear this type of eye mask for hours on end.
The great news is there are sleep masks that offer zero eye pressure. We'll get to this later, we promise.
💡 Key Takeaway: Sleep masks can be an effective way to help kids get the rest they need. To start, review the risks and determine whether your child can use one. Consider their age and check for risks that involve overheating, skin irritation and strangulation.
What to Look for in a Sleep Mask for Kids
Yes, there are non-negotiables when it comes to the risks we discussed.
In summary, here's when a child should avoid wearing a sleep mask altogether:
If they're an infant or toddler
Regardless of age if they are incapable of removing a sleep mask
If they have asthma and breathing difficulties
However, there are some risks that can be remedied with an excellent kids sleep mask. When shopping for one for your child, there are several important factors to consider.
Here’s what you should ask yourself:
How much light will it block out?
As we mentioned earlier, complete darkness is ideal for melatonin production. And it helps the brain and body wind down for bed. It’s important to look for a sleep mask for kids with a 100% blackout feature.
Does it put direct pressure on the eyes?
To avoid the risk of blurred vision, look for a sleep mask with convex eye cups. That way, there’s zero pressure on the eyes.
Eye cups also provide comfortable padding around the eyes and nose area while sealing out light effectively.
Is it comfortable and durable?
Kids aren’t big fans of clothing that scratches their skin. So, what more if it's the eye area?
Choose a sleep mask made from soft and breathable fabric. This lessens the risk of overheating while providing comfort.
Besides comfort, make durability a priority. Choose an eye mask made from high-quality, long-lasting materials.
Is it adjustable?
By now you know how important fit is in a sleep mask for kids. It should be tight enough to stay on without being uncomfortable.
You may think this is a tall order considering the flimsy one-strap sleep masks that are common. But there are eye masks out there with adjustable head straps, And they’re made with more than just a single piece of elastic.
Look for one that has a micro hook and loop closure. It gives your child more control over removing and adjusting their sleep mask. It’ll stay on until they give it a yank.
Does it have small parts?
Sure, beads or buttons are great for enhancing cute sleep mask designs. But they’re also choking hazards. The last thing you want is for your child to swallow these by accident while asleep.
Similarly, avoid designs with sharp edges. These can cause irritation or cuts on the delicate eye area or cheeks.
Is it machine-washable?
Finally, consider buying a machine-washable sleep mask so you can clean it after each use. This keeps your child’s eye mask free from bacteria, dust mites or other allergens.
In line with this, a sleep mask for kids that’s made from hypoallergenic fabric is a huge bonus.
We created our version as a response to all the Manta Sleep mask users who reached out. Basically, telling us their kids need one of their own. (We suspect the “borrowing” was getting out of hand.)
And so we got busy and engineered one for children ages 6 and up. And when we say “up” we mean teens.
We let the question “Is it safe for a child to sleep with an eye mask?” guide our design process. We wanted to make sure that our version is all about the benefits and not the risks.
Also, we created this mask to grow with your child. That’s why we put a lot of effort into making Manta Sleep Mask KIDS extra durable and adjustable. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Check out Manta Sleep Mask KIDS’ features:
Manta Sleep Mask KIDS has a 100% light-blocking feature. It comes with a pair of convex eye cups that seal out all light so it’s nighty-night for your little tyke.
Adjustable and durable head strap
The head strap is durable. Adjust it to fit your child’s head perfectly. It secures around the head with a snag-free micro hook and loop closure.
It was designed to stay put the whole night but is easy to remove by hand.
Detachable convex eye cups
It’s not just your child’s head shape but also eye placement that matters. Position the eye cups anywhere within the strap interior for a custom fit.
They’re roomy so your kid won’t feel any pressure on their eyes or lashes. The eye cups are great for side sleepers because they taper near the temples.
Soft and breathable materials
The head strap is made from soft and breathable jersey fabric. The eye cups are made from molded foam encased in a combination of polyester and spandex.
The mask is 100% machine-washable. Make sure to put it in a laundry bag before popping it into your washing machine.
We made sure to test the materials for potential allergens. But if your child is prone to allergies, make sure to check with the doctor first.
Fun Gender-Neutral Designs
Manta Sleep Mask KIDS comes in two fun designs. They’re childlike, not childish. And they’ll appeal to both kids and teens alike.
Also, there are no small parts to pose a choking hazard.
So, is it safe for a child to sleep with an eye mask?
In conclusion, it is — as long as the right precautions are taken. And it’s important to choose your child’s sleep mask carefully to avoid potential risks.
The first thing you should do is determine whether your child is of the right age or has any health conditions. When in doubt, consult your pediatrician.
Taking the time and effort to choose an excellent sleep mask for kids is the next step. Remember that its design should tick all boxes when it comes to safety, comfort and light-blocking.
Help your kid understand what an eye mask is and how it can help them get more restful sleep. That said, teach them the right way to use their sleep mask. Supervise them, when necessary.
As you know, sleep is essential for a child's development. Ensuring they get good quality zzzs isn’t always a walk in the park. Taking these steps will help your child feel confident that a sleep mask can be beneficial for their health and well-being. We hope this blog post answered the question: “Is it safe for a child to sleep with an eye mask?” And that it helps you make an informed decision on behalf of your kids.
If you’re looking for more information, check out these blog posts:
Let us know if an eye mask for kids helped your child get deeper and more restful sleep. Drop a comment below.
(1) “What Is 50 Decibels Compared To Other dB." Decibel Meter Pro, decibelpro.app/blog/what-is-50-decibels/. Accessed 21 December 2022.
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