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Things Travelers Need To Know

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Parents, Kids and Airport Security Checkpoints

Security checkpoints require that everyone, regardless of age (even newborns), have to be screened as part of air travel security procedures.  While we all hope that it is  unlikely that traveling children are terrorists, they may be unwittingly carrying devices or materials that terrorists hope to use.  As a consequence, no exceptions are made to the security process regardless the age of a  traveler.

Preparation

If your kids are walking and can carry a small backpack, this makes a great place to store their on-plane entertainment.  Sending a kid's backpack through the scanner is much easier than trying to gather all their "stuff" just before you enter the checkpoint.

Your kids must also remove their shoes, so consider buying them slip-ons for the trip, as it makes it much easier than to try to untie and re-tie all of those laces after your brood passes security.

During the  checkpoint process the security personnel will not separate you from your children.  Security personnel are trained to treat children gently and with a demeanor that they might not exhibit to older passengers. 

Depending on the age of your children, it may be helpful to tell them about security, what the process will be like, and how they can help get you to your airplane flight on time.

At the X-Ray

All carry-on baggage, including children's bags and items, must go through the X-ray machine.

  • Examples include: diaper bags, blankets, and toys, movie players, iPods, etc.

All child-related equipment that will fit through the X-ray machine must go through the X-ray machine.

  • Examples include: strollers, umbrella-strollers, baby carriers, car and booster seats, backpacks, and baby slings.

When you arrive at the checkpoint, collapse or fold your child-related equipment. Secure items that are in the pockets, baskets, or attached to the equipment and place it on the X-ray belt for inspection. Plastic bins are provided to deposit such items.

If any of your child-related equipment does not fit through the X-ray machine, security officers will visually and physically inspect it.

We have witnessed several cases of parents sending babies through the luggage scanner, after placing the infant carrier of the conveyer belt and turning to assist another child. 

  • Do not leave babies in infant carriers that are going to be scanned, as the scanning  device might emit radiation that could be hazardous to their health.

The Walk-Through Metal Detector

If your child can walk without your assistance, we recommend that you and your child walk through the metal detector separately. If you are carrying your child through the metal detector and the alarm sounds, our Security Officer will have to additionally screen both you and your child.

  • Remove babies and children from their strollers or infant carriers so that our Security Officers can screen them individually.
  • You may not pass the child to another person behind you or in front of you during this process.
  • Do not pass your child to our Security personnel to hold.
  • Security personnel may ask for your help screening your child
  • Do an inventory of your and your kids' belongings  (packs, shoes, belts, etc) before you leave the security area. 
    • Be sure that you have not laid your airline tickets on a  counter while going through the process.
    • You can ask a Security Officer for help gathering your bags and child-related equipment, if you need it, although not all of them will be as helpful as the ones we have encountered.

Carrying Baby Formula, Breast Milk, Juice and Other Liquids

Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces (100ml) and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. Click here to learn more about 3-1-1

All other liquids, gels and aerosols must be in 3.4 ounce (100ml) or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller.

Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items.  For more information on what you can and cannot take see the ThereArePlaces article Take It.

If you will be traveling with children with disabilities, see the ThereArePlaces article on Children With Disabilities.

 

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