June 18 2020  |  Amenities & Comfort

PPE: Kids' edition

By Jane Hobson

This is a special feature from PAX International's June 2020 Asia-Pacific digital edition.

The ‘In S+FE Little Hands’ range by Galileo Watermark features a collection of characters repeated across the PPE, packaging and fun activities

They may be small in stature, but child passengers are a huge priority for the airlines and suppliers tasked with keeping them safe and healthy inflight. With future air travel standards and protocols unclear, suppliers are preparing to fulfill their airline customer’s demands for personal protective equipment (PPE) made specifically for children. From colorful face masks to cartoon information cards and games, these companies are mastering the border between providing fun and engaging PPE while simultaneously protecting air travel’s littlest passengers from COVID-19.

After years of designing kids’ kits for airlines such as Aeroflot, Uzbekistan Airways, Rossiya Airlines and Yakutia Airlines, AK-Service Group of Companies has lots of experience with keeping wee ones engaged inflight. Now, the company is making special changes to its kids’ offerings, Nadia Krupskaya, Business Development Director, tells PAX International.

AK-Service has added child-sized gloves and masks with a safety information card to some of its existing kids’ kits. The card features fun cartoon characters and easy instructions for use. The opposite side of the card has games and some safety kits come with board games, says Krupskaya.

The design team also developed a 2-in-1 mask that can be used as an eye mask or a face mask to protect the respiratory system. A special filter included with the kit can be inserted when used as a face mask, which are available in different sizes per age group: three-to-seven or eight-to-12 years old.

“We’ve combined our ideas and designed funny prints on the masks for kids so they will feel excited to wear them all the time,” says Krupskaya, adding, “We have realized it is very hard to find PPE in children’s sizes, and it is not working properly if the mask doesn’t fit well.”

Krupskaya says AK-Service predicts airlines eill have to add PPE to their amenities and children’s kits at least until the end of this year.

This kids’ mask by AK-Service doubles as a sleeping mask and face mask with a filter insert for respiratory protection

When it comes to developing kids’ concepts with the airline, Denmark-based kids and family concept agency KIDZinflight has more than 40 years of experience in kids’ entertainment, marketing and brand optimization for airlines. The company studies how children play, their behavior and the needs of the whole family while traveling in order to provide kids’ concepts that create a friendly cabin environment.

Based on insight from working with families, there is an increased stress level for parents when traveling with kids, explains Charlotte Gade, Head of Consulting and Concept Development. Parents tend to stress when traveling with children about how they will behave, possible scenarios at the airport and aboard the aircraft and how they will keep their children protected, healthy and safe, she adds.

Combining this insight with its research findings about kids enjoying engaging in dress up, wearing play masks and having their faces painted, KIDZinflight is helping airlines develop face masks for the post-pandemic cabin.

The masks are designed with expressions that make children feel comfortable and secure, resulting in a more positive experience for the children and parents, Gade explains. Each concept is developed to fit the airline’s requirements, including age group.

“If PPE products like facemasks will be part of kids concepts in the future, only the future will show us,” Gade says when asked about the future of children’s onboard amenities.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 began, Kaelis has been using its experience in supply-chain management to develop a PPE Catalogue that includes masks, face covers, gloves, sanitizer wipes and gels, goggles and shields, gowns, clothing sets, aprons, caps and shoe covers.

When it comes to children’s PPE, Creative Director Manoj Pridhanani tells PAX the company played on kids’ natural creativity when designing kits.

The “SP3” personal protective equipment kit for kids by Kaelis features playful illustrations and games to make it more appealing to children

“Adding color and illustrations to the kit makes it more appealing to them. We added a little game inside for them to make sure they are entertained for some time,” Pridhanani says. “However, the main objective is to ensure the kids are safe and wear the mask which has been specifically adapted for children [face sizes.]”

The “SP3” kits are based on research and development to increase safety and hygiene on board post-COVID-19, Pridhanani says. The sets include sanitizer wipes, mask, gloves, an informative leaflet to explain simple safety measures, and the packaging includes a “surprise element.”

The sets are custom made per airline and can be adapted for age groups zero-to-six and six-to-eleven.

When asked who will be responsible for teaching children how to use the products safely and correctly, Pridhanani says “the crew will hand out the kits, but it will the parent/guardian’s responsibility to follow the instructions.”

“PPE will be mandatory for the travel industry to operate in the short-run and that regulation will apply to adults as [well as] to the children,” he says. “The travel industry needs to be trust again, now more than ever and there is nothing that matters more to the parents than children, so changes must be made in order to ensure their safety."

The company has also launched the SP3 pouch for adult passengers.

Galileo Watermark
Galileo Watermark’s ‘In S+FE Little Hands’ kids’ range features a collection of characters repeated across the PPE, packaging and fun activities. The offering includes special kid-sized face masks, alcohol wipes for use with adult supervision, activity books, stickers and other items to keep little ones engaged.

Beyond just providing a smaller size, the supplier has taken an after-flight approach to kids’ face masks.

“Beyond this practical [inflight] need, we think there is also a social need to have something more appealing and less intimidating for children,” says Galileo Watermark Chairman Ian Linaker. “The key is to normalize what is a relatively new and unfamiliar product group for children. Using characters and including material in the kits to tell the story of the products and their purpose will help do this. We need to remove the fear and medical factor and try to make the products as playful and engaging as possible.”

While crew will need to be trained, Linaker says it will be up parents to ensure the child is supervised and using items correctly. The range includes instructions on how to use each item.

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