Barbie and Fisher-Price Fabric Donated to Make Coronavirus Face Masks

Barbie is set to donate the fabric from her potential future outfits to fight the spread of coronavirus. Mattel and Fisher-Price will convert a part of their workforce and production lines into making masks to feed the urgent need for medical supplies in the U.S.

"As companies all over do what they can during these uncertain times, we are doing our part," said Mattel president and COO Richard Dickson in a LinkedIn post. "Our design and development teams in El Segundo, CA and East Aurora, NY, are producing face masks from Barbie and Fisher-Price fabric to help meet the significant demand for these supplies."

Barbie sculpture
Barbie now helps fight the coronavirus pandemic by donating her future clothes. Here Barbie is seen in a sculpture made from galvanized iron, aluminum and plastic by artist Annette Thas is displayed at the "Sculpture by the Sea" exhibition which runs along the Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk in Sydney on October 22, 2015. SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images

Company creatives are also working on other protective apparatus for medical staff, revealed Dickson. "We are also prototyping personal protective equipment such as face shields for our heroes in the healthcare profession.

"I am inspired by our people at Mattel, as well as the amazing contributions from the toy industry and companies all over the world."

COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China and is a virus that attacks the respiratory system. It's transmitted predominantly via droplets generated when a carrier coughs or sneezes, and via saliva or discharge from the nose.

Health workers risking their lives each day in the fight against the disease have urgently requested more personal protecting equipment (PPE).

In some countries, such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, wearing a face mask has become compulsory nationwide since the coronavirus pandemic. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says its website states: "If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection."

Fisher-Price joins toymakers including Thinking Putty company Crazy Aaron and playtime and educational product toy company Zimpli Kids in the fight against coronavirus. Both have given over a proportion of their production line to producing hand sanitizer.

Mattel has also donated toys to children in need during the coronavirus pandemic. "Mattel's mission is to create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play," said CEO Mattel Ynon Kreiz via LinkedIn. "At no time in our 75 years history has this mission been more vital than now, when schools across the country remain closed, while parents, caregivers and educators seek new ways to encourage children to continue to reach their full potential. Our company's mission has now become a shared mission with households across the country."

Newsweek has requested additional comment from Mattel.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.

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