Mega Clever Boy Scout Invents 3D-Printed Ear Guards To Ease Mask Pain For Healthcare Workers

Over the past couple of months, there have emerged hundreds of photos of overworked healthcare workers’ chafed faces covered in bruises, blotches, and redness—as though instead of getting off a shift at the hospital, they’re returning home from competing in a boxing match.

One photo of Italian nurse, Alessia Bonari, depicting the reality of wearing a facial protective gear over the course of long shifts, day in day out, went viral back in March.


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A post shared by Alessia Bonari (@alessiabonari_) on

“I am physically tired because the protective devices are bad, the lab coat makes me sweat, and once dressed, I can no longer go to the bathroom or drink for six hours,” Bonari told the media.

Aside from the obvious discomfort she and other healthcare workers suffer, Bonari said she was also concerned that the masks they are required to wear aren’t even fitted properly. Now that is recommended all Americans wear face masks when in public, grocery store and pharmacy workers are among others who also must endure long shifts with protective gear on their faces.

Luckily a 13-year-old Boy Scout named Quinn Callander is here to save the day.

When a Canadian hospital put out a call for protective facial gear designs that could eliminate mask pain, the young scout got to work.

Quinn’s ingenious design is an ear guard that can be produced on a 3-D printer. The project went viral after his mom shared photos of the guards on Facebook.

Quinn answered a request from the local hospitals for help with creating more “ear guards” to help take the pressure off...

Posted by Heather Roney on Friday, April 3, 2020

The adjustable guards lift the mask straps up off the back of the ears so that the mask can fit comfortably over differently shaped faces and heads.

The post has over 400,000 shares and countless expressions of gratitude posted as comments. One Facebook user commented, “As someone who works in healthcare I can say that this is fantastic! When we wear them constantly all day everyday, they actually start to cut into the back of our ears.”

In just one week Quinn produced over 1300 straps and personally distributed 1,215 of them to local hospitals. To cover more ground, he teamed up with a Vancouver BC volunteer organization to deliver over 3300 straps.

Quinn has made his design public so that anyone with a 3-D printer can replicate it, and his mother is encouraging more people to get involved on Facebook.

“We need more volunteers to fire up their 3D printers and donate these ear guards to hospitals and medical professionals!” she posted.

The young Boy Scout’s brilliant application of his own unique skill is making a bad situation just a little bit more livable for heroes on the frontlines. It’s even more inspiring to see that other troops and Boy Scouts are also performing good deeds in this time of need.

Resourceful Riley Guidry, 14, put together a how-to video teaching viewers to make homemade masks from a bandana and two elastic bands.

And check out these soon-to-be Eagle Scouts, who have already raised $700 over their GoFundMe goal to donate thousands of masks to local hospitals.

Susan LaMarca

Written by Susan LaMarca