Sometimes, the hardest part of traveling with children isn’t their attitudes or ear-pops at 27,000 feet. It’s usually the long lines at the airport and seemingly slow-as-molasses security check at the TSA line. What can you do to make life easier when traveling with children?
According to TSA.gov, the following tips will help you be a prepared and informed traveler and, hopefully make your trip much more pleasant.
Children with Medical Conditions, Disabilities, or Mobility Aids
Inform the TSA officer if the child has a disability, medical condition or medical device, and advise the officer of the best way to relieve any concerns during the screening process.
Inform the TSA officer if your child is able to walk through the metal detector or need to be carried through the metal detector by the parent/guardian. You may carry your child to ease the screening process. The TSA officer will not remove your child from his/her mobility aid, wheelchair or scooter.
TSA Cares is a helpline to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. Call TSA Cares 72 hours prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. You may also call to request assistance at the checkpoint.
Formula, Breast Milk, and Juice
Notify the TSA Officer
Formula, breast milk and juice for infants or toddlers are permitted through the security checkpoint. Separate formula, breast milk and juice from other liquids, gels and aerosols limited to 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters.
Inform the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process that you carry formula, breast milk and juice in excess of 3.4 ounces in your carry-on bag. These liquids are typically screened by X-ray.
A quick, informative watch and easy-to-understand video, Security Screening for Infant-Care Items is a great help when you have questions about diapers, wipes, and baby food.
Screening Formula, Breast Milk and Juice
TSA officers may test liquids for explosives or concealed prohibited items. If officers are unable to use X-ray to clear these items, they may ask to open the container and have you transfer the liquid to a separate empty container or dispose of a small quantity of liquid, if feasible.
Inform the TSA officer if you do not want the formula, breast milk and/or juice to be X-rayed or opened. Additional steps will be taken to clear the liquid and you or the traveling guardian will undergo additional screening procedures, to include a pat-down and screening of other carry-on property.
The Food and Drug Administration states that there are no known adverse effects from eating food, drinking beverages and using medicine screened by X-ray.
3-1-1 Liquids Rule Exemption
Formula, breast milk and juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do need to not fit within a quart-sized bag. Separate formula, breast milk and juice from other liquids, gels and aerosols limited to 3.4 ounces.
Ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in carry-on. If these accesories are partially frozen or slushy, they are subject to the same screening as described above. You may also bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred and processed baby food in carry-on baggage. These items may be subject to additional screening.
I found the search app “When I fly, can I bring my…” on the TSA.gov site incredibly helpful, especially when trying to remember the little things –nail clippers, kids games with gels and squishy insides and stuffed animals.
- Place all carry-on baggage such as children’s toys, bags and blankets on the X-ray belt for screening.
- Strollers, umbrella-strollers, baby carriers, car and booster seats and backpacks must be screened by X-ray.
- Place items in the stroller pockets or baskets, in a carry-on bag or on the X-ray belt for screening.
- Equipment that does not fit through the X-ray machine will undergo a visual/physical inspection by TSA officers.
Walk-Through Metal Detector
Children able to walk through the metal detector without assistance may do so separately from their parent or guardian. If they alarm, children are allowed multiple passes through screening technologies and may undergo other procedures to resolve the alarm to reduce the need for a pat-down.
Infants and small children may be carried through the metal detector. Should the alarm sound, additional screening is required.
Advanced Imaging Technology
If your child is able to remain standing in the required position for 5 seconds, he or she may be screened through the advanced imaging technology. If a child 12 and under goes through the machine and alarms, they have an opportunity to go through again or the TSA officer may use other procedures to resolve the alarm to reduce the need for a pat-down.
You may not be screened by this technology when carrying an infant or child.
Great read: How to Survive Traveling on an Airplane with Kids
- Children 12 and under can leave their shoes, light jackets and headwear on during screening.
- Children will not be separated from their parent/guardian.
- Remove infants and children from their carriers and carry them in arms through the walk-through metal detector.
- Modified screening procedures are in place to reduce the likelihood of a pat-down.
Have you mastered a technique for flying with children that makes life easier? Share your success – we would love to hear from you and possibly feature your story in an upcoming blog.
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