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Children With Disabilities and  Airport Security  Checkpoints

Passing through security checkpoints at airports is a difficult process and poses several challenges for parents traveling with disabled children.  We provide several guidelines, some provided to us by our contact at the Transport Security Administration.  At no time during the process should the security personnel attempt to separate you from your child.

Parents or guardians of children with disabilities should.  Inform the Security Officer if the child has any special needs or medical devices.

  • If you think your child may become upset during the screening process as a result of their disability, let the security personnel know as you near the X-Ray machine and Metal Scanner.
  • Provide the security personnel with your  suggestions on how to best accomplish the screening to minimize any confusion or outburst for the child.
  • Ask the Security personnel for assistance during the process by helping you put your and the child's carry-on items on the X-ray belt.
  • Know that if a private screening is required, you should escort and remain with your child during the private screening process.
  • Tell the security personnel your child's abilities  and suggest the best way to proceed.
    •  For example: let security know if the child can walk through the metal detector, needs to be  hand-wanded, or needs to be carried through the metal detector by the parent/guardian.
  • Know that at no time should the Security Officer remove your child from his/her mobility aid (wheelchair or scooter).
    • You are responsible for removing your child from his/her equipment at your discretion to accomplish screening.
  • If your child is unable to walk or stand, the Security Officer will conduct a pat-down search of your child while he/she remains in their mobility aid, as well as a visual and physical inspection of their equipment.

The greatest aid to you in this process is patience.  Not all security personnel are as sensitive as they should be to travelers with disabilities.  However, letting them know their shortcomings will likely only make the process more difficult. Take their name and number and report them to the TSA authorities if you feel strongly about the treatment you or your special needs child received at any security checkpoint.

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