(Singapore, 4 May 2009) As swine flu (H1N1) continues to spread, young children are at greater risk because of their lungs is still under development and there is a lack of child-friendly respiratory masks. The customisable Totobobo mask offers parents a reassuring solution and is seeing strong demand from around the world.
The patented Totobobo mask was created by product designer Francis Chu to meet the need for children respiratory protection. Made from “Totosoft”, a custom-blend soft plastic formulated using FDA approved sources, the mask is also equipped with two powerful electro-static filters. The mask can be trimmed to fit children as young as five-years-old. Parents can see through the transparent mask and double check if it fits their child snuggly.
For a mask to be effective, it has to fit the face snuggly, so that airborne viruses cannot seep through any gaps. Children wearing adult-sized respiratory masks, whether NIOSH-certified or not would be exposed to contaminated air due to the ill fit.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the USA tests and certifies respiratory devices on the market such as the current standard N95 masks. This test is only conducted on adults. The certification determines the filtration efficiency and does not guarantee how well the masks fit. All NIOSH-certified respiratory masks, such as N95 masks, are fixed sizes and do not come in smaller sizes for children.
In 2003, when SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) first broke out, Francis Chu, a father of two, got first-hand experience of the anxiety of parents concerned about his children’s safety. His children were only six and eight-years-old. At that time and he could not find a mask that would fit their small faces.
“I felt hopeless knowing that my children were in imminent danger if they go into crowded public space like schools or playgrounds and that I could not do anything about it.”
“The sense of threat prompt me into looking for a design solution that will fit all face shapes including children.” explains Francis.
The customisable Totobobo respiratory mask that Francis eventually created, after experimenting with hundreds of prototypes, fits both adult and child. Its soft and light material (only 20grams) makes it less irritable for children who might find it uncomfortable wearing a normal mask.
“I was thinking from a parent’s perspective during the design process and that pushed me harder to make the mask as practical as possible. I am happy to know that with the child-friendly Totobobo mask, parents now have a practical choice to better assured of their children’s safety,” adds Francis.