World War II Infant Gas Mask

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The year was 1939. The world was at an unwelcoming point for hostility. Everyone feared the possibility of chemical warfare.

The British Government supplied their population with gas masks because of panic of possible poison attacks.

No one was safe. Not even children.

What looks to be like an unpleasant and uncomfortable deep-sea diving helmet, is in fact a safeguard for infants. The peculiar looking relic was designed for children up to two years of age. Concerned parents would place their young child in the steel cage, draped with the hood, so the child’s vision was attainable through the visor. The child’s body was then swaddled in the tarpaulin hood, securing the straps beneath him leaving the legs to freely dangle.

The hood had a layer of rubber to ensure the mask was sealed and that no contaminated air could pass through. An asbestos filter is fixed on the side of the mask that allowed a parent to hand pump oxygen to their child.

Many parents were unsatisfied and appalled by the idea of encasing their child in an uncomfortable steel cage.

During how-to demonstrations some children became unnaturally still and near death because they weren’t pumped enough oxygen. Thankfully they were never used in an actual circumstance.

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As for the asbestos filter, it is factual now that asbestos decays over time and it is extraordinarily dangerous and may cause severe complications to the lungs. It is very important that all old resistants, such as asbestos, is removed professionally and accordingly from vintage gas masks.

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