CUTE OR CRUEL? Viral pic of toddler wearing an adult-sized face mask on flight divides Internet

Despite Jandre Opperman, the person who took the picture, calling it a 'super-sweet interaction', many netizens accused the baby’s mother of 'child abuse'


                            CUTE OR CRUEL? Viral pic of toddler wearing an adult-sized face mask on flight divides Internet
A child was photographed wearing an adult-sized surgical face mask on an Air New Zealand flight (@jandreopperman/Instagram)
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A viral picture of a baby has left the internet divided as it showed her donning an adult-sized surgical face mask amid the Covid-19 crisis. The toddler was reportedly photographed on July 1 on board an Air New Zealand flight bound to Wellington from Auckland while she was in her mother's arms.

The photo of the baby was taken by a person named Jandre Opperman, who called it a “super-sweet interaction” but there were many who accused the baby’s mother of “child abuse”. Opperman had shared the photo on his Instagram page but after receiving negative comments, he reportedly changed his account settings to private. He told the New Zealand Herald, “The baby was full of joy, jumping around and giggling away. It made the wait to get off the plane a bit more entertaining.”

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Despite Opperman defended the child’s parent by saying, “I think it was a mix of having a laugh, and trying her best to protect her child with the equipment available to her." However, people’s hate towards her did not stop. One angry user commented, “If I saw this on a flight I'd remove the mask from her myself.” Another one said, “Babies need air to develop” and the third one noted that it was “dangerous to cover their breathing holes like this.”

The photo also made its way to Twitter, attracting unwanted reactions. A user asked, “Ok but WHERE are the nose holes? Children under 2 CANNOT wear masks.” “Mask on a baby is cruelty,” another Twitter user remarked. Sharing a meme, a person commented, “Future of the kid🌚.”

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But not everyone was against the baby wearing the mask as one person said, she had raised her fist in the air “to assure you there's enough holes and gaps in the mask to breathe properly and don't be a Karen and complain about a picture on Facebook.” The second one wrote, “Must be training as a superhero lol! The world is not yet ready for SuperBaby,” while a comment added, “Relax your undies.”

In New Zealand, children above the age of 12 are required to wear masks on domestic flights. Whether the children below that age should be masked or not are up to their parents and a well-fitted mask is suggested by the nation’s government. As per The Herald, authorities also advise that masks for children should be comfortable and it “should cover their nose, mouth, and chin without gaps above, below or on the sides. They also suggest a knot and tuck technique can help better fit a larger-sized mask to a child's face.”

Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, an epidemiologist at the University of Otago Wellington, said, “Masks offer effective protection against respiratory viruses but to work well, they need to be well-fitted so that air isn't moving around the sides of the mask. That need for a good seal around the mask would make me question whether a larger mask is going to be effective on a small face.”

Kvalsvig further stated, “A key point about young children is that they very quickly show you when they feel uncomfortable. If a young child is wearing a mask and they're active, alert, and happy and they're being closely supervised by an adult, that's reassuring to see,” before adding, “As we know, young children can experience more serious effects from Covid-19 infection and parents should have the opportunity to make a risk assessment and decide whether a mask is appropriate for their child. But for the youngest children, the best way to protect them is for the adults to step up by getting vaccinated, wearing masks in public spaces, and taking a rapid antigen test before family gatherings to check that they're not infectious.”

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This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.