Bradenton man designs hybrid mask, face shield for kids returning to school

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BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Almost all school districts have decided returning to school which means masks for all students and teachers, but that can also mean problems for younger students.

Tyton Design and Development is a manufacturing company that has had to pivot in the past several months.

“Until we started doing the PPE stuff we were a wheelchair accessory manufacturer,” said Ty Salvatore, the owner.

Making over 300,000 masks the owner saw a new need. Students going back to school will need masks, but most masks are made for adults, not kids.

“I know the importance of having to see somebody’s mouth when they’re speaking to you. As children are learning or someone with a disability or an ailment I wanted to come up with some sort of hybrid,” said Salvatore.

The idea came from his own experience growing up hearing impaired.

“It cleans up very easy. The top part is made of a skin-like material. So it’s very soft and doesn’t sweat. We actually use this on wheelchair cushions,” explains Salvatore.

The $3 hybrid mask and face shield are already becoming popular with other industries, says the designer.

“People in hospitality are begging for them. Hairdressers are wanting them,” said Salvatore.

8 On Your Side spoke with the smaller target demo about the masks and they say they like that it doesn’t hurt their ears or noses allowing them to wear them almost all day.

“Well not all day. We usually take them off and put them on the table when we’re eating lunch or snacks,” said 5-year-old Austin Salvatore alongside his 6-year old brother, Lucas.

Salvatore has reached out to local governments and school districts about the masks. Those looking to learn more about the masks can get them here.

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