Design of aerosol face masks for children using computerized 3D face analysis

J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2014 Aug;27(4):272-8. doi: 10.1089/jamp.2013.1069. Epub 2013 Sep 28.


Background: Aerosol masks were originally developed for adults and downsized for children. Overall fit to minimize dead space and a tight seal are problematic, because children's faces undergo rapid and marked topographic and internal anthropometric changes in their first few months/years of life. Facial three-dimensional (3D) anthropometric data were used to design an optimized pediatric mask.

Methods: Children's faces (n=271, aged 1 month to 4 years) were scanned with 3D technology. Data for the distance from the bridge of the nose to the tip of the chin (H) and the width of the mouth opening (W) were used to categorize the scans into "small," "medium," and "large" "clusters."

Results: "Average" masks were developed from each cluster to provide an optimal seal with minimal dead space. The resulting computerized contour, W and H, were used to develop the SootherMask® that enables children, "suckling" on their own pacifier, to keep the mask on their face, mainly by means of subatmospheric pressure. The relatively wide and flexible rim of the mask accommodates variations in facial size within and between clusters.

Conclusions: Unique pediatric face masks were developed based on anthropometric data obtained through computerized 3D face analysis. These masks follow facial contours and gently seal to the child's face, and thus may minimize aerosol leakage and dead space.

Trial registration: NCT01274299.

Keywords: children; clinical trial; face analysis; face mask; inhaled therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aerosols
  • Age Factors
  • Anthropometry
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computer-Aided Design*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design*
  • Face / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Masks*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Pressure


  • Aerosols
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations

Associated data