We are coming up on year two of mask requirements for air travel, which means all of those beautiful pandemic-era babies will soon be required to wear a mask when they fly. In the U.S., all children ages two and older are required to wear a face mask over their nose and mouth when flying. This can seem really daunting, especially if your child has never had to wear a mask. So here are my top five favorite ways to give my son a break from his mask when we fly.
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1. Play peek-a-boo.
My son is three and still loves this game. But instead of revealing my eyes, I’ll quickly pull my mask down to say, “BOO!” I’ll play a few rounds as the “peeker” and then he takes a few turns too.
2. Pack lollipops.
These take a few minutes to eat and they are an easy snack that doesn’t make a giant mess. We like Blow Pops the best because, duh, gum at the end.
Another fun lollipop we love is Lolleez, which are sore-throat soothing lollipops. Wearing a mask for hours plus breathing circulated air while onboard tends to give us irritated throats. So I bring a few of these along too.
3. Did someone say snacks?
So. Many. Snacks. We never leave home without snacks, so of course this makes the list. The night before a trip, I always pack a Bentgo Kids lunchbox of my son’s favorite snacks (there will be a forthcoming blog why I love these things). When we’re onboard and my son asks if he can take off his mask, I simply open the lunchbox and place it on his tray table. Easy peasy!
Drinks for children are exempt from TSA’s 3-1-1 rule, so I like to bring one or two juice boxes to save myself the $5 buying them after security. We also bring an empty 360 cup to fill with water once we’re through TSA. Hydrating is important when you’re traveling anyway, so this one is a double whammy: my child is hydrated and he gets his mask break.
FYI: pressure changes in the cabin when you fly, so I can practically guarantee your child’s cup will leak. I recommend unscrewing the lid slightly and holding the cup for takeoff/ascent/descent/landing, or not filling the cup with liquid until you’ve reached cruising altitude.
I feel like the hospital hammered into my brain so hard to give my child a bare crib that now I have an irrational fear of my child suffocating. Anyone else relate? So when Gavin falls asleep in flight, I simply untuck his nose from the mask. I am yet to be hassled for this and it gives me enough peace of mind so I can take a nap too.