A photograph of a baby wearing a full face mask on an Air New Zealand flight has gone viral on the internet and has sparked an online debate.
According to New Zealand Herald, the picture was taken on a domestic flight from Auckland to Wellington on July 1. It shows the child wearing an adult-sized face mask across its entire face, with two little eye holes cut out.
Jander Opperman clicked the photo and shared it on social media. He told the outlet that it was a “super-sweet interaction”. “The baby was full of joy, jumping around and giggling away. It made the wait to get off the plane a bit more entertaining,” Mr Opperman added.
Since being shared, the image has taken the internet by storm. Some users found the image hilarious and compared it to popular horror film characters. Others said that it was “incredibly sad” and claimed that it was an example of “child abuse”.
“If I saw this on a flight I'd remove the mask from her myself,” wrote one user. “It was dangerous to cover their breathing holes like this,” said another. Some even questioned how effective the mask could be in protecting the child from Covid-19.
Other commenters jokingly said that that baby's raised fist was just “to assure you there's enough holes and gaps in the mask to breathe properly.” “Must be training as a superhero lol! The world is not yet read for SuperBaby,” said another.
Mr Opperman, on the other hand, told New Zealand Herald that the mask didn't appear to be secured tightly around the infant's face. “I think it was a mix of having a laugh and trying her best to protect her child with the equipment available to her,” he added.
Separately, speaking to Stuff, Siouxsie Wiles, a microbiologist and Covid communicator, explained that the mask “might reduce the amount of virus they breathe in a little”, but that it was “best to invest in masks designed for little ones”.
According to the New Zealand government, all air passengers over 12 years must wear face masks on domestic flights. For younger kids, the government advises that parents choose a well-fitted mask that covers their mouth, nose and chin without any gaps.Click for more trending news