Traveling With Children And Masks – What Do I Need To Know?

As the world opens up again, you might be getting ready to travel with your family. What are the rules on mask-wearing, and how can you prepare your children for their next trip?

People waiting at the gate
What are the rules on wearing masks for children? Photo: Getty Images

General rules on wearing masks

Traveling is an exciting time for you and your children; however, there is no ignoring that some of the rules have changed. When it comes to regional or international travel, you can travel safely by following regulatory guidance from your government or airline.

You should be prepared to wear a mask when you are inside public spaces and where a two-meter distance cannot be maintained. This is for the protection of you and your family to curb the transmission of the coronavirus.

When traveling with children, you should also be prepared with masks in the event they need to be worn. As a general rule, face coverings should be worn in airports and on the plane. However, there are some exceptions. Let’s take a look at the Big Three US airlines.

People wearing mask at airport
General rules on mask-wearing still apply at the airport. Photo: Getty Images

Do I need to wear a mask with these airlines?

As always, it’s essential to do your research before you travel, and if in doubt, make sure you pack a mask or face covering. Before you go, you should check guidance from your airports and airline.

On American Airlines, you must bring your own mask, and it should be worn end-to-end throughout your journey. A mask should be worn at all times at your departure airport, at the gate, on the plane, and at your destination.

Children under two years old are exempt from wearing masks.

Mum and daughter with face mask
Children under two years old are exempt from wearing masks. Photo: Getty Images

A valid mask is anything that fully covers your face and nose. As of August 19th, they should not contain valves, vents, or lace material. However, they can be taken off for eating and drinking temporarily.

United Airlines has a similar policy: anyone over two years old should wear a face covering for their entire flight and at airports. Face shields can be worn; however, they are not a replacement for masks that cover your nose and mouth.

For Delta Air Lines, the rules are slightly different. Anyone under two years old or unaccompanied minors are exempt from wearing a face mask. Delta will supply face masks to anyone who does not have one; however, you should be prepared with your own anyway.

Delta Air Lines Boeing
Delta Air Lines has slightly different rules. Photo: Getty Images

What if my child does need to wear a face mask?

Face masks are becoming the norm; however, wearing a face-covering for an extended period may be uncomfortable. To make wearing masks a more exciting experience for your child, here are a few tactics you could try:

  • Get your children to decorate their own masks before their flight
  • If your child is carrying a stuffed animal, have them wear a face mask
  • Speak to your child about why they need to wear a mask

Do you have any tips for traveling with children? Let us know your suggestions in the comments.