Oxygen mask – Adult first and then children. Why?

During your several air journeys, you would have frequently heard this announcement from the cabin crew.

“In case of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks above your seat will deploy, please place the mask first and then assist your child or other passengers”

Why do airlines announce like this. It sounds funny and crazy right. For everything we say children first. But here, why do we put them as second.

Well, there is a reason for it and let me explain to you simply.

You may be thinking in other way, If I do not try to put the oxygen mask to my child first, then child will die before I. Who wants this?

No. absolutely not. You are wrong in thinking this way. First of all you should know that in a commercial passenger flight the oxygen masks contain enough oxygen only for 12 minutes and after that everyone on board will go unconscious due to Hypoxia (oxygen deprivation). If the flight is at an higher altitude like 20,000 ft. or above, within 20 to 60 seconds one can get unconscious. This is the main reason flight attendants always advise you to put the oxygen masks first and then assist your children or other passengers – in case of an emergency.

Meanwhile, if you try to put your children oxygen mask first and if it takes time, unfortunately you will not get enough time to put your mask within a few seconds, resulting death for both of you due to Hypoxia. Also if you do not give yourself oxygen first, definitely you will not get the chance to assist your child to get the oxygen they need. You should not forget that on high altitudes depressurization and unconsciousness could happen within a few seconds, so during this very minimal time if the parents waste time for putting children oxygen masks, the result will be death for both of them due to nil oxygen.

This is the reason flight attendants always announce on board, in case of a cabin pressure, please put your own oxygen mask first and then assist your children or other passengers.  Help yourself first so that you can help others, which will save everyone’s life.

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9 thoughts on “Oxygen mask – Adult first and then children. Why?

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  5. Is there any research on what percentage of parents (would) actually do this in an emergency?
    … Or any relatable psychological studies?

    This seems like a (logical) self-care issue that would be ingnored out of a false sense of nobility.


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