Are full face snorkels safe for kids? How to choose the best one.

​​​​Thinking of buying your children full face snorkel masks? 

In this article we explore the best brand full face snorkel mask for children, with an honest approach of whether or not these will suit your children's swimming style. 

There are some very minor drawbacks to full face snorkel masks that you need to be aware of before you commit to buying these for your children.


Click on the link below to take you to your most pressing question, or keep scrolling to read more on how to pick the right full face masks for you and your children.

The Good News - Snorkeling is now better than ever!

Full face snorkel masks have made a big impact in the world of snorkeling. The new full face masks overcome many of the pitfalls of snorkeling and have been a game-changer, especially for children.

Even the best quality full face masks are becoming more affordable as newer versions are released. As new brands continue to enter the market, prices and quality varies. 

Should you buy children a full face snorkel mask?

If your kids love paddling around on or near the surface then, absolutely you should! The innovative design of full face masks makes snorkeling a fun and unforgettable experience. These masks are so comfortable and easy to use. Once your children have tried snorkeling with a full face snorkel mask, they'll never want to go back to the old style mask and mouth piece again.

The straps are elasticized making these easy to put on and adjust to a snug fit. After the initial adjustment, they'll see how much fun these are. There is no need to stop to empty out water, defog, or re-adjust the straps.

There is no sore jaw or teeth, and no gagging on a snorkel mouthpiece that's too big for them. 

The full face snorkel mask has a separate chamber for breathing, so the viewing section doesn't fog up. If your kids are anything like mine, having a mask that isn't constantly fogging up is going to go a long way to EVERYONE having a more enjoyable time!

Are full face snorkel masks safe for children?

Children seem to take to these easier than many adults, but are they safe? Generally speaking, full face snorkel masks are no more dangerous for your children than a traditional mask and snorkel. If your children can swim and use a traditional snorkel mouthpiece and mask, then they'll have no problem using a full face mask.

Full face snorkel masks are no different to traditional snorkel masks sets when it comes to safety. Always supervise children when swimming and snorkeling. There are many brands available to buy both online and in stores. The best full face masks are made with quality materials, but innovation and quality comes with a price tag.

A lot of the cheap full face masks are direct knock-offs of good quality brands. Many versions are made in China using inferior quality materials. Sadly, some are very poorly made, with one common complaint is that there are leaks in joins where there shouldn't be.

It's inevitable that kids grow and understandable that you don't want to spend a fortune on a product they're quickly going to grow out of.

When choosing a full face snorkel mask, make sure it's a good brand as there is a difference in comfort for your child as well as the price. Sometimes it pays to spend a little bit more, and have peace of mind. If you buy a decent mask, then it should last long enough to be handed down to younger siblings or cousins after your child grows out of it.

What's a Dry Top Snorkel - Does water get in?

Dry Top Snorkel stops water entry

Full face masks have a dry top snorkel system in the tube. There are conventional snorkels with these incorporated into them, but the full face snorkel mask takes this to a whole new level. 

A Dry Top Snorkel uses a ball float system inside the snorkel. It stops water from entering the snorkel. As you lower your head into the water and the end of the snorkel is submerged, the float rises up and blocks the tube effectively stopping water from getting in. 

If a small amount of water does enter the snorkel, good full face masks are designed to channel this to the chin area of the mask, away from the face. Water then drains out through a valve located on bottom of the the chin as soon as you raise this above water level.

Full Face Snorkel Mask inside channel for water

Looking into the lower section of the mask. This section covers your nose and mouth.

If water does get in, it's channeled away from the face and out thorough a chin valve. 

After diving below the surface, there's no need to blow water out of the snorkel when you resurface - just breathe normally again.

Video - Full Face Snorkels are great for kids

The short video below shows how easy it really is for children to put on, adjust and use a full face snorkel mask.

How does sizing work with children's full face snorkel masks?

When buying for a teen or large child, always go down a size if you're unsure. Don't buy a mask that's too big thinking it will work now and last them longer. Always buy the correct size for the child.

When it comes to sizing, full face snorkel masks can still be used even if they're a little small. Recently I used my younger son's XS size mask without it leaking although I fit an adult S/M size mask. I can't use my older son's M/L sized mask as it's just a little too big for me and leaks immediately.

If you want to introduce very small children to the underwater world, you may find that even an XS size may be too big for them. An alternative to a full face or traditional snorkel is a bucket snorkel. These are for very young children who may not yet be good swimmers, or are too small for masks. 

Which is the best Full Face Mask for children?

When choosing a full face masks for children, make sure you go with brands that have XS or S sizing. Whichever brand you select should have a good returns/exchange policy in case the size isn't quite right.

The best full face masks currently available for children are Tribord EasyBreath, ​Wildhorn Outfitters SeaView 180 PanoramicUsnork Full Face Mask, and the Ocean Reef Aria snorkel mask. 

With each of these full face snorkel masks, you are buying a good product that will give you hours of enjoyment. All come with a full manufacturers warranty and outstanding reviews on Amazon.

Natural Breathing Full Face Snorkel Mask

#1 - Ocean Reef Aria Full Face Snorkel Mask

Ocean Reef make diving equipment as well as snorkel masks. They're a great brand and their products are made with higher quality materials.

Ocean Reef also makes full face Scuba diving masks so you know their snorkel mask is going to be exceptional quality.

The Ocean Reef Aria now comes in 3 sizes, including one especially for the kids. The Aria also has more options when it comes to accessories.

These have an optical accessory available. These area a Support only - it's like buying eye glasses without the glass. You can either take these to your optometrists to have lenses fitted to suit your eyes, or you can buy the generic lens to fit. 

Ocean Reef are at the top end of the pricing market. This is the mask to go for if money is no object. 

#2 - Usnork Full Face Snorkel Mask

The big advantage this mask has over its competitors is its price. We all know how quickly children grow out of things. These masks are one of the cheapest, but still provide very good quality. 

As with other quality masks, the silicone of the Usnork is soft. This allows it to form a seal around your face as soon as you lower yourself into the water. The slight variation between the air pressure air and the water gently presses the mask against your face and creates a good seal. 

The Usnork comes in 3 sizes including an XS for children.

Usnork Childrens Full Face Masks

#3 - Tribord EasyBreath (Latest Version) Snorkel Mask

Tribord developed the first full face snorkel mask. When they released the Tribord EasyBreath full face mask, this became a game-changer for the world of snorkeling.

The Tribord EasyBreath full face snorkel mask is very well designed and made with good quality materials. It's not a cheap version of an expensive brand. This is a great mask at a very good price. These continue to come down in price as different versions are released. 

Tribord has continue to improve on their original design and released a new version in 2017. Tribord masks come in 4 sizes making it easy to find the right one for all members of your family.


Tribord are undergoing a branding change and are also branded as Subea. They are cutting down on their range of sizes so Tribord will lose a lot of the children's market in 2018, but while these are still available, these are an excellent choice for children.

#4 - Wildhorn Outfitters SeaView 180 Snorkel Mask

Wildhorn Outfitters have recently released their masks in a children's size. They have also released a large number of new colors but currently the XS size is only available in the one color.

The price of their children's size full face snorkel mask is very competitive for such a high quality mask. Children's sizes are currently available for just under $50.

Seaview 180° Full Face Snorkel Mask XS Childrens Size

SeaView full face snorkel masks comes in 3 sizes, including an XS for children.

READ THIS before considering a full face Snorkel Mask!

No matter how good the brand you pick, there’s no getting around some things with full face snorkel masks. Here are the drawbacks that you should be aware of to avoid disappointment.

  • Full face snorkel masks are designed for snorkeling in relatively calm water. As with a traditional mask and mouthpiece, if you lean your head too far forward, water will enter the snorkel. The float valve system only works when the snorkel is in a vertical position. Water may enter the snorkel when duck diving.
  • These are not designed for swimming laps in a pool. Full face snorkel masks are designed for leisurely snorkeling. They work well when breathing calmly, but are not a good choice for swimmers exercising, and should also be taken off when swimming between snorkeling spots. Most snorkel air pieces are not wide enough to provide a swimmer with enough oxygen when swimming at an exercise pace.
  • These are not designed for Free Diving or spear fishing. The mask will quickly becomes uncomfortable when diving below around 10 feet (3 meters).
  • Bullseye
    Whether it’s a traditional mask or a full face snorkel mask, water will get in if there’s any hair between the skirt of the mask and your face. Long fringes and any hair need to be cleared completely out of the way or they will create tiny spaces that will cause water to leak into the mask.
Tips to keep in mind when buying

Buy the right size for your child's face. Full face snorkels will leak if it's not the correct size. Size charts are available for all brands of snorkel masks so make sure you follow these. 

Go for masks with a flat viewing section. Full face snorkel masks with curved viewing areas can distort the view and sometimes makes people feel woozy.

Go for ones with a transparent or almost clear silicone nose / mouth chamber. Masks with a full block of colored silicone will restrict the wearer's peripheral viewing. Masks with transparent nose sections can be feel more enjoyable to many users as you can see more beneath you in your peripheral vision, and don't feel so closed in. 

Full face snorkel masks to avoid

Full color silicone nose & mouth chamber reduces peripheral vision

Tribord Subea Full Face Snorkeling mask

This one still provides good peripheral vision

Ocean Reef Aria Full Face Snorkel Mask

Great peripheral vision

Which Full Face Snorkel Mask to buy on a Budget?

Let's face it, not everyone's budget will stretch to a top quality full face snorkel mask. If you're on a budget, you can still enjoy the amazing benefits of the full face snorkel mask. The most important thing is that you get the correct size for your face and buy one with a transparent (or nearly transparent) nose section. 

The compromise could be that you buy last year's model of a quality brand. It's easy to snap up a bargain if you're happy to go with last years model. 

Looking for more detailed information on individual full face snorkeling masks?

Click on the link below if you'd like to read some more in depth information or see some videos of these full face snorkel masks in action.

Best Kids Snorkel Set

Cressi Junior Kids Rocks Snorkel Gear

Full face masks are such a big change in snorkeling, but what if you're still not convinced this is the way to go?

There are some great (and not so great) snorkeling mask sets available. Regardless of whether you choose a full face mask, or a traditional snorkeling mask, we're here to recommend the best quality gear, so no-one is left disappointed.

The mask set we recommend for children is the Cressi brand. Cressi have been making snorkel and scuba gear since the 1940's so we know they're doing something right.

Cressi Kids Rocks Snorkel Fins Mask Set White-Orange
Cressi Rocks Kids Mask Snorkel Fin Set Blue-Yellow
Cressi Rocks Kids Snorkel Mask Fins set - Purple Pink

The Cressi Junior Kids Rocks Snorkel Set comes in three colors and two sizes. These are designed for children aged from around 6 to around 14. The snorkel set includes a set of fins, a traditional style face mask with a silicone skirt edge that's designed to accommodate children's narrower faces. 

This set also includes a curved Dry Top snorkel which uses the same principal to stop water getting in as the full face mask snorkels. It has a splash guard on the end with a valve that seals the snorkel as you go underwater.

A mesh carry bag is included. This snorkel is designed to go on left hand side of face so it can be attached to the mask strap by a snorkel keeper clip.

If you're children have problems with the fins being slightly too big, a set of wetsuit style booties will help.

ressi Kids Rocks Snorkel Set Size Chart

Which is the best Sunscreen for Kids?

If your family is heading out into the sun, chances are you're going to need sunscreen. We all know how much kids love to play in the sand or spend lots of time in the water, especially when on holiday.

Best Sunscreen for Kids

Yes, I know, here I go again sounding like a mother (there's a reason for that). Before making a choice on which sunscreen to buy for your children, there's a couple of things you probably want to be aware of.

There are 2 chemicals in many well known brands of sunscreen that you probably want to avoid. These are Oxybenzone and Retinyl Palmitate. You also need to avoid anything that has a SPF factor of 55+ and higher. Anything up to SPF 50 is ok.

Before your eyes glaze over completely, I want to keep this as simple and as helpful as possible to guide you to the best sunscreen currently available for children. If you do a Google search, you'll find plenty of trustworthy websites with in-depth information about these chemicals if you need more information.  The one recommended below does not contain either of these chemicals. 

thinkBaby Best Sunscreen for Babies over 6 months

#1 - ThinkBaby & ThinkSport Kids Safe Sunscreen

There's some really nice things about the ThinkBaby and ThinkSport Kids Safe Sunscreen products. This is a mineral based non-toxic sunscreen, and it doesn't contain any biologically harmful chemicals, such as the ones mentioned above. 

This is the first sunscreen to pass Whole Foods Premium Care requirements, and has won more awards than any other sun care product. This has not been tested on animals.

Both ThinkBaby and ThinkSport for Kids have the highest SPF rating, water resistance and Broadspectrum coverage under the FDA Guidelines. The active ingredient is Zinc Oxide which provides protection against UVA and UVB ultraviolet radiation.

ThinkBaby Sunblock for Kids
thinkSport Sunscreen for Kids
ThinkSport Kids Sunscreen Protection

ThinkBaby/ThinkSport LIVESTRONG sunscreen is made in the USA and is safe for children over 6 months of age, adults (including pregnant women), and anyone with sensitive skin.

thinkBaby and thinkSport Kids sunsreen is easy to apply and doesn't feel oily. 

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Sharon  Swanson


I know it sounds cliche, but I genuinely have a passion for travel - and let's face it, who doesn't enjoy a some adventure? I've always loved the beach and snorkeling, and to me, some of the best experiences are with the people you get to meet on the journey.  

This website and it's articles are about providing valuable and helpful information for everyone looking for unforgettable holiday and travel experiences.  

Sharon Swanson
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    Sharon Swanson


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