MIRA Safety Children's Gas Mask CM-2M
Finding gas masks for kids can be a real challenge. There is a lot of junk on the internet. If you're reading this you probably already know that.
We've been trying to find real, reliable, safe, and effective solutions among the things we've found out there and none of it fit the bill.
Most importantly we were looking for something NEW, not old surplus that's been sitting around for who knows how long.
That's where the MIRA Safety CM-2M Children's mask comes in.
It is a real option, a true gas mask designed for children that functions and performs in a manner that will actually save the life of our child if it was needed.
Do Kids Need Gas Masks?
The Woolsey Fire approaches homes in Malibu, California. | David McNew/Getty Images
Is breathing important?
There are quite a number of reasons kids (and adults) would need gas masks. Some more likely than others, but all real threats.
Fires and Smoke, Chemical Agents (accident or attack), Biological Agents (epidemic or attack) and Nuclear Fallout are a few scary reasons.
If you live in an urban or population dense environment, or in an area prone to wildfires, gas masks and filters for yourself and your child(ren) are worthy investments.
Building and wildfires can and do happen often, and a mask can help tremendously, but you need one that converts CO into CO2.
The new MIRA Safety VK-450 Filters is an enhanced NBC Filter that Protects from Smoke & Particulates and turns your gas mask into a fully-functioning, multi-use smoke hood
The MIRA Safety NBC-77 SOF filter will only filter out toxic gasses that are produced when things burn (the carbon filter) along with smoke (the particle filter) but will not convert CO into CO2.
BTW If you buy anything from the links we provide on this page we might get a small percentage of the sale. For more info click here.
What To Look For
Let's consider at a couple of important requirements that each and every gas mask should have, whether they are for kids or adults.
First: they need to come from a reputable manufacturer. MIRA Safety has been in the market for a number of years now. They supply many state agencies and countries around the world with respirator and gas mask products.
They are the exclusive distributor in the US for these children's CM-2M masks, which they source from a factory which is subsidized by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
They use the same rubber used for the Russian Military PMK-S masks which are currently in use.
The original versions of these masks were created during the Cold War, and were sanctioned by the USSR for use during in case of nuclear attack.
Unfortunately, masks like these were needed during the Chernobyl incident in 1986. You can see some photos of them here.
The MIRA Safety Children's Gas Mask CM-2M
But this is not old stock we are talking about, all the masks MIRA is selling as of today (Aug 2019) were manufactured in 2019.
Being designed specifically for children they have a few features which you won't see on other masks.
First of course is the sizes. The CM-2M masks come in two different sizes:
For kids 18 months to - 6 years old the Mira Saftey CM-2M Size 1 will provide CBRN protection for a reasonable price of $165.
For kids aged 6 to 15 years old, get the Size 2 model.
These are used in conjunction with a backpack to hold a filter. They have a hose filter connection which assists in lowering breathing resistance, and reducing weight on the face since kids have limited neck strength.
If you need to learn a little more about gas masks and filters, how they work and what they can and cannot do, be sure to check out our article: The Ultimate Gas Mask Guide.
There are positives and negatives to masks like these.
Th CM-2M has a ten year shelf life which should be long enough for most kids needs. Keep them in a cool dry place if possible, and close at hand.
Unlike the Russian versions of these masks, the CM-2M from MIRA Saftey have 40mm NATO threading for the filters. That's good news for us in the US, since NATO filters are much easier to find than the 40mm GOST filters preferred by the Russians and Eastern Bloc.
You can get 40mm CBRN filters from a few different places, but if you purchase them from MIRA Safety with 20 year shelf lives.
Designed with the intent of cutting weight to make them manageable for children to wear. It's pretty much the only kids mask on the market. If you want to get something for children that isn't surplus, there are really no other options.
I say not really because there is the CO CBRN Scape hood which retails for $540. It is designed for escape from fire, so has CO filters that will last about 30 minutes.
These masks came with a Russian user manual, along with an English manual that wasn't translated perfectly. MIRA is working to create a US consumer-friendly manual (as of time of writing.)
The CM-2M doesn't come with an internal drinking system. This could complicate long term use if required. Not a deal breaker, but not ideal.
These masks don't have an inner mask, so they will tend to fog up after extended use, making it difficult to see for your child.
Pricing: although we don't consider these masks overly expensive given what they do and what products like these typically go for, at $165 a piece (plus filter costs) we recognize that this can be outside of many families budgets.
Gas masks aren't really comfortable. They get hot. It can be a little hard to breathe. I can hardly stand wearing my mask for more than 30 minutes, and our kid lasts about 2 minutes before he starts to complain.
This is a training issue. We'll discuss this and other considerations now.
Train Yourself And Your Kids
We've learned a few things while working on this article, specifically as it relates to a 3 year old boy and getting him to wear the mask. Take some of these lessons to heart, and see what will work with your kids.
But if you take away nothing else but this: practice with the mask before you need it. Really spend time with it, know how it works, learn how to adjust the straps (tricky at first), and make sure your child is comfortable with it.
If you just throw it in the closet so it's "there when you need it" it will fail on you. You won't know how to use it, and neither will your child.
Get Them Acquainted
The first time our son saw the CM-2M he was scared of it. And no doubt, it's kinda a scary looking thing. He refused to put it on. So we waited a couple of days and then left it out for him to find on his own.
Once he had a little time to play with it, he tried to put it on and came to us for help. That problem solved. More to come...
My wife has another idea, and that is to paint the mask with him. Make it look like spider-man or something. That way he thinks its "cool" and will be more willing to accept it should we need him to.
Hair + Rubber = Ouch
Our kids got longish hair. Not hippie hair mind you, but not a crew cut either. The rubber catches it whenever we put the mask on. He gets mad cause were pulling his hair and rips the mask off.
This led us to decide that if things go sideways, and we have the chance before an event, his head gets the buzzer (and so does Daddy's hair and beard.)
If your kid has long enough hair that it can be pulled back then this shouldn't be a problem. Just make sure you store a hair band or two ON THE MASK so its there should you need it.
The Long Haul
Getting the kid to wear his mask for more than 5 minutes at a time has been a challenge. Since he is only 3, we can't explain to him or make him understand why he needs to keep it on. Not his fault as there's no developed prefrontal cortex to reason with right now.
So we're trying a few different approaches.
First were leaving it around for him to play with on his own. Probably going to have to grab a backup in case this leads to the very likely destruction of mask #1.
Secondly we're trying to get him to wear it more by us parents wearing ours more often as well. That way we all get used to wearing them, and doing stuff with them. Hopefully this will build comfort and allow him to keep it on for longer periods.
The filter attaches to the end of the long elephant trunk like tube by the nose. This is a good thing because it keeps the weight of it off the kids undeveloped neck.
It creates an issue though with carrying it. You could put it in a backpack, but then the kid's trying to breath through a backpack, through a filter, a long tube, into a mask. Not easy.
We don't have a firm alternative solution yet. Been thinking about some sort of harness or light mesh backpack like thing that can hold the mask on his back without adding too much air flow restriction.
For The Smaller Ones
If your kid is wee tiny, 18 months or younger, than MIRA Safety has the KDZ-6 Infant Gas Protective Carrier.
Designed for infants under 18 months (or pets under 30 lbs) who will sit or lie on a small cot.
It can protect against Poisonous substances, Biological aerosols, Radioactive dust, Iodine radionuclides & its organic compounds and Aerosols (dust, fog, fumes.)
It has a carrying strap which allows it to be carried over the shoulder while transporting from place to place.
Depending on the outside temperature, the child or pets can stay inside for up to 6 hours. There is a sealed glove which allows you to reach inside the enclosure without breaking the seal. This is helpful if you need to give the baby a bottle for example which can stored in one of the interior pockets.
A mask alone isn't going to cut it if you are in a chemical attack or a nuclear incident. There are a few more items you should consider adding to your kit if you want to protect against them:
If you live near a nuclear reactor, or in a city and fear the fallout from a dirty bomb or the like, then there are some additional preventative products you should have.
Thyrosafe actively prevents your thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine which comes from the fallout of a dirty bomb or explosion.
In the event of exposure, it’s crucial to take potassium iodide (Thyrosafe) as soon as possible (and if advised to by local authorities) to avoid radioactive iodine side effects and radiation poisoning.
This can greatly reduce the chances of thyroid cancer development.
Don't take these on a whim however, there are lots of bad side effects that can come along with these pills. Take them ONLY if advised by a medical professional or local authorities to do so.
We highly recommend having one box per each member of the family, even infants. This is a 10 day course of treatment that might not be available in a potentially catastrophic situation. Consider it cheap insurance against an unlikely (but super dangerous) scenario.
If you want to protect yourselves from Chemical attack, you have a few different options. The first and probably most reasonable, and affordable would be having RSDL (Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion) Chemical Warfare Agent Skin Decon Kits on hand.
RSDL is the only decontaminant cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that removes or neutralizes chemical warfare agents, including tabun, sarin, soman, cyclohexyl sarin, VR, VX, mustard gas and T-2 toxin, from the skin in a single step.
There is also a product out there called a FiberTect wipe. It will remove and isolate contamination from skin or equipment. The RSDL will treat the area in addition to removing toxic residue. Might be good to have both if you can find them.
Side note: if you are looking for a good book that explains the threats of CBRN attacks and what to do about them, then get your hands on The U.S. Armed Forces Nuclear, Biological And Chemical Survival Manual.
It's pretty detailed but not too difficult a read. It's broken out into sections that are easy to read in quick sittings (so put it in your bathroom...a place where toxic decontamination might be a relevant topic...)
The real way to be protected is to not get the bad stuff on the skin the first place. That's where Hazmat suits come in.
Again MIRA Safety stands out for being one of the few suppliers of Hazmat suits I could find in kids sizes.
Their HAZ-SUIT fabric is made from a durable, puncture-resistant film composite which creates a barrier to over 125 chemicals including chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals.
Plus your kids will look like post-apocalyptic Oompa Loompas. Putting the fun back into SHTF....
OK. I think my work here is done. If you have any questions, join us over on Facebook and ask away.