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  • Writer's picturethefamilyvacationenthusiast

Everything You Need to Know About Going Through Airport Security Checkpoints with Children

A little planning goes along way in helping your family to speed through TSA Security Checkpoints in the airport. Read on to first find out what is allowed to be brought through a security checkpoint and some strategies for packing.

To start, TSA defines a child as a person under the age of 13 years old. For children 13 years of age and older, all standard screening procedures apply.

What Baby and Toddler Items Can Be Brought Through a Checkpoint:

  • Infant Formula

  • Breast Milk

  • Toddler Drinks (milk, juice, etc.)

  • Baby/Toddler Food (including puree pouches)

  • Cooling Accessories (ice packs, freezer packs, and gel packs)

  • Liquid-Filled Teethers

These items are NOT limited to the usual 3.4 ounce liquid rule and you do NOT need to be traveling with your child to bring these supplies through. These items may need to go through extra security (likely a swab sample of the outside of the container). TSA will never open a container to test the contents inside.

What Can Your Child Wear Through the Checkpoint:

  • Children 12 and under can leave their shoes, light jackets and headwear on

  • Infants may be carried in a sling/carrier (to include lap baby) through the walk-through metal detector or when being screened in a wheelchair

How to Take Your Baby or Toddler Through The Checkpoint:

There are two screening methods that the TSA may utilize at an airport: a walk-through metal detector and advanced imagining technology. The walk-through metal detector is exactly how it sounds; you simply walk through and it will alarm if any metal is on your person. If it alarms, you will be asked to remove any metal objects still on your person (loose change, belt buckles, etc.) and then walk-through again. The advanced imaging technology is a walk-in detector where you lift your arms in the air and it scans your body for any abnormalities. If any are detected, you will receive a pat-down of the area from an agent of the same gender.

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


You may not be screened by this technology when carrying an infant or child.

How To Bring Baby Gear Through a Checkpoint

  • Place all carry-on baggage such as children's toys, bags and blankets on the X-ray belt

  • Place items in the stroller pockets or baskets, in a carry-on bag or on the X-ray belt

  • Strollers, umbrella-strollers, baby carriers, car and booster seats and backpacks must be screened by X-ray, if possible

  • Equipment that does not fit through the X-ray machine will undergo a visual/physical inspection by TSA officers (flag an officer in the area if your gear will not fit through the X-ray belt so they will begin this inspection)

Tips to Expedite Security

  1. Freeze your breast milk if possible to avoid additional liquid screening

  2. Remove your liquids from your carry-on and place them separately in a security bin

  3. Consolidate all your items being stored in your stroller's basket into a bag or bags for the security check

  4. Have a place for your child's pacifier or teether to avoid it touching the security bins


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