- Kids Health
C-Pap Masks for Children: C-Pap and BiPap Mask Review
C-Pap Masks for Small Children
C-Pap therapy on a very young child is difficult: the majority of masks on the market are designed for adults. Many popular masks designed for children are engineered for kids over the age of seven: this leaves parents of preschoolers in a bind when C-Pap therapy is ordered for very young children.
Our four year old son is small for his age, and requires the use of C-Pap therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea. We had a very difficult time finding an appropriate mask for him. The “petite” adult masks did not fit his face, and one of the small children’s nasal masks would end up wound around his neck at night.
He has tried to use nasal pillows (which fit into the nostrils), but could not tolerate the feeling of the prongs up his nose. He sometimes uses the nasal mask style, though he has chronic congestion which limits the usefulness of the nasal masks. The best pediatric C-Pap mask we have found so far is a full-face mask which allows him to breathe freely, even when congested.
There are three pediatric C-Pap masks that fit his tiny face:
Mini Me Mask Danger
On many middle-of-the-night checks on our son, we would often find the Mini-Me mask wrapped around his neck in a dangerous configuration. While this may not cause a problem with some children, parents should be aware that this mask is only held on by a two-point connection to the head net.
The SleepNet Mini-Me Nasal C-Pap Mask
This mask fit our son’s face fairly well, but the nasal mask portion was still a bit large for his tiny nose. The mask overlapped onto his upper lip by quite a bit, and it was hard to get a good seal across the top of his nose. This meant that he would get air leaks into his eyes, which negated the effect of C-Pap therapy and was extremely uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the Mini-Me mask is secured with only two straps on the lower part of the face – the tubing is rigid and must be secured at the top of the head with the head-net.
The head-net design is not as secure as other C-Pap masks, and our son would often bat it down during the night: the mask and head-net would end up wound around his neck. This was a big enough problem to cause us to stop using the mask.
Mini-Me Nasal C-Pap Mask Pros:
- Fits small noses
- Has head-nets in multiple sizes
- Soft gel which prevents pressure sores
Mini-Me Nasal C-Pap Mask Cons:
- Poor design for securing the mask to a child’s face
- Tubing is in a fixed position on the child’s head
- Frequent air leaks for those with small noses/flat nasal bridges
Child Lite Mask in Action
The Phillips Respironics Child Lite Nasal C-Pap Mask
When the Mini-Me C-Pap mask did not fit our son’s needs (with frequent air leaks and several terrifying nights with it wrapped around his neck), we ordered the Child Lite nasal C-Pap mask. The entire mask and head-net ensemble was under $100, and the mask is truly designed for preschool children. The nose section fit our son’s face perfectly, without overlapping onto his upper lip. We also had few air leaks with this mask.
This mask has a four-point connection to the head-net, which makes it more secure on a child’s face. The gel forehead contact point equalizes the pressure on a child’s face, which is important for kids with mid-face hypoplasia. As children have growing bones, the forehead pressure point helps to reduce problems with facial growth and the restricting force of the C-Pap mask.
The Child Lite mask also has a swivel for the hose, so it is not fixed to the child’s head. We liked the ability to move the hose out of the way, so that it would not bother our son during the night. This nasal mask is a bit noisier than the other masks we’ve tried, but the noise is a minor issue when compared to the effectiveness of the mask.
Child-Lite C-Pap Mask Pros:
- Fits toddlers and preschoolers very well
- Swivel hose connection
- Pressure-point reducer on forehead
- Secure connection with a four-point head-net
- Soft gel to prevent pressure sores
Child-Lite C-Pap Mask Cons:
- Noisier than other brands
FitLife C-Pap Mask
The FitLife Mask in Action
Phillips Respironics FitLife C-Pap Mask
Unfortunately, our son has chronic, silent reflux and often has nasal congestion. This makes the use of a nasal C-Pap mask difficult. There are no full-face masks “officially” designated for use in children under the age of seven. After receiving some tips from other parents who struggle with apnea and the use of C-Pap in preschoolers, we decided to order the Phillips FitLife full-face C-Pap mask. While the official paperwork on this mask indicates that it is for children over the age of seven, we have found that it fits our petite, 30 pound four year old quite well.
This mask covers the entire face, eliminating any air leaks into the eyes. The mask is silent and is great for children with sensory issues or who don’t want anything covering their nose. We told our son that this mask would make him a “space man,” and he was enthusiastic about using the mask.
Very occasionally, air will leak out of the top of this mask. Air leaks are nearly always from the forehead area. The head net that came with the mask was a tad too big, so we took the head-net from his Child-Lite nasal mask and put it onto the Fit Life full-face mask. With this hybrid system, our son slept for 8 hours: the longest he has ever slept in his four years of life.
With any child using a full-face C-Pap mask, monitoring is vital in case a child vomits in the night. Children should be able to remove the mask on their own, and parents should be alert and discontinue the use of the full-face mask in the event that a child appears unwell. We currently use a baby monitor and frequently check on our son to be sure he is sleeping comfortably. We have also taught him how to remove the mask should he feel unwell.
Fit-Life C-Pap Mask Pros:
- Silent operation
- No air leaks into the eyes
- Great for kids with sensory issues
- Swivel hose
- Great for kids with chronic congestion
Fit-Life C-Pap Mask Cons:
- Full-face mask not recommended for children with frequent vomiting
- Full-face mask not recommended for children with aerophagia (air swallowing)