Full Face Snorkel Masks get more and more attention lately and it’s not the good kind. CO2 build up, allegedly snorkelers drown in Hawaii when wearing one and so on. So it’s a fair question to ask yourself, is this safe for my kids?
First off all we want to state that we don’t reject using full face snorkel masks at all. They are a great way for snorkelers which have trouble snorkeling with a traditional mask and snorkel to explore the underwater world. We just have some concerns regarding children using these masks.
Concern 1: Fit
Children come in all shapes and sizes and typically vary a lot in size from year to year. More than often we see kids using the snorkel mask of their parents. Even though they may seal of the face and keep the water out, the’re still a lot bigger than the specially designed kid snorkel masks. A big problem with this is the build-up of CO2 inside the mask. Kids typically have smaller lungs then adults and lack the power to exhale as deeply. Therefore they may not blow out all of the bad air which they exhaled previously. We have written an whole article about CO2 build up in masks and how it works, you can find it here.
Concern 2: Water rushing in
When the seal of a full face snorkel mask is broken the water rushes in, flooding the mask within a split of a second. For children this can really be a frighting thing because suddenly they can’t breath or see. Only solution is to stick your head out of the water and let the water drain on the bottom. If the snorkel mask is on to tight a kid might not get it off it’s face in time. If your children is using a full face snorkel mask, make sure to practice this under your guidance!
Concern 3: Kids are wild in the water
Remember when you were a kid? threshing, diving, swimming like a maniac and coming out of the water out of breath. Your kid is probably doing the same thing and that’s not what a full face snorkel mask is designed for. It’s meant to be used for a relaxing easy snorkel where you don’t overexert yourself. If you don’t, CO2 can build up inside the mask and may eventually even make you go unconsciousness.
Concern 4: Bad Masks
Not long after the first full face snorkel mask had been invited, cheap copies came to market. The biggest issues with these knock-offs is that they don’t have the sophisticated system in place to get rid of the bad air inside the mask. We recently reviewed such a mask and it wasn’t pretty. After we contacted them about the potential hazards of the mask they stated that the mask shouldn’t be used more than 30 minutes at once. See the full review about the mask here.
Do your kids a pleasure!
Snorkeling is wonderful and off course you should take your kids on a snorkeling trip. But maybe not with a full face snorkel mask. Kids are like sponges and they pick up snorkeling with a traditional set quite easily. And this is a skill for life and even comes in handy when they eventually might want to learn scuba diving. So do your kid a solid and take him to the pool to learn how to use a traditional mask and snorkel!