Getting Through Airport Security with Kids
Flying with kids means going somewhere fun and adventurous. But in order to get to your fabulous destination, first you will need to navigate the airport security screening process. Getting through airport security with kids is not for the faint of heart or disorganized, but by reading these tips and visiting the TSA website you will be prepared!
Look for Special Line for Young Children
Some airports have a special security line for families with strollers or young children so be sure to look for it and ask if you don’t see it. Even if there isn’t a special line open, security officers may let you jump to the front of the line.
Have Your Documents Ready
Before you start the security process, everyone in your family will need to show their airline boarding pass. Adults 18 years and older will also need to show appropriate identification. Children do not need any form of identification.
Be Ready With Your Bags and Items
After showing your boarding passes, you will continue to wait in line to be screened. This is a good time to get your items ready to go through the x-ray machine. TSA policy allows one quart-sized zip-top bag with liquids in containers that are 3.4 ounces or fewer. Note however, that bottled breast milk, baby formula, contact lens solution, and medicine in reasonable amounts can be brought on planes in addition to your toiletries. Make sure to remove these items from your luggage and let the screener know you have them. Also, if you have a portable DVD player or laptop, pack it in a place where it is easy to reach as you will need to remove it from your carry-on bag and put it through the x-ray machine separately.
In addition, strollers must be folded up and put through the x-ray machine with your luggage and carry-on bags so now is a good time to unbuckle and get the kids out of their seats. Finally, every item you are bringing needs to be screened in the x-ray machine, even stuffed animals or special blankets. You may want to prepare your child in advance so they know they will see their favorite item on the other side of the machine!
Get Yourself Ready
Before going through the metal detector, adults need to remove jackets and shoes and put them through the x-ray security machine. Children under 12 do NOT have to remove shoes. If you have change in your pocket, bulky jewelry, or a belt, go ahead and put it in a container to go through the x-ray machine. It’s a hassle to remove the extra items, but if you set off the security alarm it means you will be pulled aside and manually checked — a huge inconvenience if you’re traveling with young kids!
Go Through the Metal Detector
After putting your items through the x-ray machine, you will then proceed to the metal detector. Many airports currently have Advanced Imagining Technology where you stand still and the metal detecting screener moves around you. If children can’t stand still long enough to use this machine you will be allowed to go through the Walk Through Metal Detector. You may carry a baby, but children who can walk are expected to walk through on their own. If you have two adults traveling I recommend that one goes first and the other comes through at the end. If you are traveling on your own I suggest letting your oldest child go first and then you go last.
Collect Everything at the End
Once you and your children and belongings have been screened it’s time to “reassemble.” If you have someone in a stroller, buckle them in first. Put back on your shoes, jacket and jewelry. Make sure you have collected your zip-top bags, DVD players/laptops and carry-on bags. Then take a sigh of relief — you did it!
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Susan is an enthusiastic traveler and mom to a 11 year-old boy and eight year-old girl. Originally from North Carolina, Susan is a Southerner at heart, although…