Nightmare Before Christmas: Mandating masks for toddlers is ludicrous, especially in light of study indicating effectiveness of airplane ventilation systems
Few aspects of the holidays can be more stressful than travel. For some families, the challenges are compounded because they are dealing with tired, hungry, and fussy babies and toddlers.
When government mask mandates are imposed, with questionable effectiveness in reducing the spread of the virus, it can result in a real “nightmare before Christmas.”
For example, San Diego mother Kaley Justice said that her family was kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight and forced to buy tickets on another airline to return home to San Diego because her child kept pulling down her mask:
Justice said her 7-month-old son kept pulling off her face mask while breastfeeding and she had a hard time getting it back on for a couple of minutes.
…Justice said Finn was cranky, so she started breastfeeding to calm him down.
“I was discreet. I wasn’t like crazy-topless or anything like that. I was covered,” she said. “[Finn] kept ripping my mask off because, he’s like, ‘Mom’s under there. Peekaboo! What the heck’s going on? I want to see your face.’”
Justice said she struggled to keep it on and hold onto her baby.
“I just held it in my hand for a second and I know [the flight staff] said multiple times, ‘You may take your mask off briefly to eat or drink,’ which, in my opinion, is a little more crazy; opening your mouth,” she said. “The flight attendant said, ‘You need to wear your mask.’ And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m sorry. OK.’ And I put it back on and I’m still kind of fighting with Finn to get him relaxed.”
In a video currently making the rounds, a Colorado mom traveling with her child was booted off a United flight because, shockingly, her child wasn’t coping with the mask.
Today we got kicked off of a United flight going from Denver to Newark because our 2yo would not “comply” and keep her mask on. Go see the full IGTV on my Instagram @elizfulop ? pic.twitter.com/KXCICsBSMj
— Eliz Orban (@elizfulop) December 12, 2020
This has been an issue plaguing travelers for many months now. In August, a mother and her six children were kicked off of a JetBlue Airways flight because after her 2-year-old daughter wouldn’t wear a mask.
“It was extremely traumatizing for me and my family,” the mother, Chaya Bruck, 39, from Brooklyn, said in an interview with ABC News.
Bruck said she tried to put a mask on her youngest child, Dina, but she pulled it off.
“Should I tie her hands, what should I do?” Bruck asked the JetBlue flight attendant according to a video of the incident. “We have to deplane,” the attendant responded, explaining that the airline has a zero tolerance policy.
Clearly, the child was no activist deriding government policies. And other passengers defended Bruck, who was doing her best to manage her daughter under the circumstances.
Now that we have lived for nearly a year with the effects of coronavirus and the consequences of senseless imposition of politicize policy perhaps it is time to review our approach. For example, many states force everyone aged two and over to wear masks. There is a reason that age is referred to as “terrible.” The people who developed and implement this rule are clearly Grinch-like.
And those rules should accommodate some amount of common sense, such as not booting a breastfeeding mom off a plane because her child is fussy.
In fact, it appears good ventilation is a key factor in reducing the spread of the virus . . . not masks. One study shows airplane air is safer than that found in operating rooms.
A new study conducted for the Department of Defense adds credence to the growing belief that airline passengers face minimal risk of contracting coronavirus when flying.
The study found the risk of aerosol dispersion – transmission of the virus through the air – was reduced 99.7% thanks to high air exchange rates, HEPA-filtered recirculation and downward ventilation found on modern jets.
Investigators looked at the impact of an infected passenger on others seated in the same row and those nearby in the cabins of Boeing 767s and 777s. Those two aircraft types are widebodies typically used for long-haul flights where a virus would be expected to spread more easily.
…On most planes, the air exchange rate is approximately every three minutes and 75% comes from outside the plane, meaning that only 25% of cabin air is recirculated.
“The 767 and 777 both removed particulate 15 times faster than a home … and five to six times faster than recommended design specifications for modern hospital operating or patient isolation rooms,” the study continued.
Given the robust ventilation indicated by the study, any airline can safely bend the rules to accommodate families on board.
Finally, and as I noted before, mask mandates simply don’t work.