Spit mask (line drawing). Credit: Omega Research Foundation
Spit mask (line drawing). Credit: Omega Research Foundation

Spit Masks

Also called spit guards, spit hoods, and spit helmets, spit masks consist of a thick piece of material over the mouth and transparent material over the eyes. The material covering the restrained person’s mouth should prevent the detainee from spitting, but the material covering the eyes should not impair the detainee’s vision.

Spit masks carry a risk of suffocation or strangulation if they are used incorrectly, for long periods, or if the detainee is left unattended. These risks increase if the masks are used in conjunction with other restraints. Other risks include their use in conjunction with (or following) the use of chemical irritants, where the irritants may become trapped on or close to the face.

Research into the efficacy of different models in preventing transmission of disease or infection from the detainee to others is lacking.

The manufacture, trade, and use of spit masks should be carefully controlled and subject to robust standards to ensure that leg cuffs are not used to violate human rights.