Since September 11, 2001, travel by air has become much more complicated than it used to be. If you’re traveling with an infant or a small child, it’s become even trickier. The TSA has it’s own rules, and each airline has particular rules as well. It’s imperative that you know this stuff before you fly! Here are some TSA traveling tips that hopefully will make your trip smooth and uneventful.
TSA Traveling Tips for Tourists
When buying your ticket, make sure you know whether you have to buy one for your infant or toddler. If she occupies her own seat, obviously she’ll need her own ticket. But if she’ll be sitting in your lap, some airlines will permit you to fly two-for-the-price-of-one. Now, if you’re not going to buying a ticket for the baby, the airline is going to want to verify that the baby’s identity somehow. These rules vary by airline, especially if you are flying internationally. If you’ll be traveling to another country, the baby will need a passport!
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What’s ok to carry on to the plane?
There was a great deal of confusion about this issue in the beginning, but the TSA has taken pains to make the rules about baby stuff clear and concise. Formula, breast milk and juice are now exempt from the “3 ounce rule” that holds for other liquids and aerosols (not that you’ll be packing juice, right?) So go ahead and pump as much as you can and fill those bottles! Ice packs and baby food jars are also allowed in carry-on bags.
You have to tell the security agent that you’re carrying these things in your bag. They’ll have to go through the x-ray scanner. Do not worry about this. X-rays will not harm breastmilk, formula, or anything that the baby will be eating or drinking.
Will they pat down the baby?
Yes, they can if they want to. The picture above shows TSA agents in Kansas City, MO, patting down an infant after her stroller set off an alarm for explosives. The incident got some press, but TSA did not apologize and procedures have not changed. The agency maintains that they can pat down any child, although children under 12 get to keep their shoes on. Infants and toddlers in strollers can be carried through the scanner in a caregiver’s arms.
The photo on the right shows a TSA traveling agent checking for explosives and weapons that might be strapped to this young child’s derriere.
The fourth amendment to the American Constitution states
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
To date, TSA screening has not caught any terrorists at airport security, though a number of suspected terrorists have successfully flown in the US without being identified as such by the TSA. Several guns and weapons have been confiscated by the TSA, none belonging to a terrorist.
Thank you for flying with The Essentially Healthy Child!