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How do I choose the right cannula or mask?

Unfortunately, most of the time you do not have much of a choice in which cannulas or masks that are delivered from your Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Provider. It is important to know that there are several sizes of infant and pediatric masks and cannulas available and one size does not fit all.

  • For the cannula, the prongs should be spaced so they comfortably fit into the nostrils. If they are too wide, too small or are really long for your child’s face, ask your DME for samples of other sizes. Oftentimes, the cannulas will need to be secured to the face using Tendergrips, Tegaderm, or other tapes. This is another item that you may have to experiment with. If you need ideas, the parent forum is a good place to post questions.

Masks should be comfortable and cover the nose and the mouth and have very few gaps around the sides of the face.

  • If your child is using a mask, your oxygen flow will need to be much higher than the cannula to make sure the volume in the mask is replaced with each breath. If the flow is too low, the child may “rebreathe” their exhaled air which contains a higher than normal carbon dioxide level.