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Going through security at the airport sounds like the most daunting part of flying for parents. What can I take? Do they have to take their shoes off?  How do I hold my baby and get the car seat and stroller through?

Here are my tips for getting through security without losing your kids or your mind.

  1. Arrive early. If you give yourself plenty of time to get through security you will be more relaxed. And a relaxed flyer is a happier flyer. When you aren’t worried about missing your flight, you are less likely to rush and leave something behind. Check to see if your airport has a play area as I have talked about before. It’s a great way to kill time when you arrive to your airport early.
  2. TAKE YOUR TIME.  Sure people behind you may be in a hurry, they may be running late. But you followed my number one tip. I typically fly alone with my two kids and find that people are very kind. I was initially worried about people growing impatient with me, but instead they are patient and many offer to help.
  3. If your child is younger than 12, they are allowed to leave their shoes on. This will help immensely.
  4. You are allowed to carry breast milk, formula, and juice through security. These liquids are not included in TSA’s 3-1-1 rule (must be 3 ounces or less in one quart size plastic container, limit one per passenger). Put these liquids in a separate bin and notify a TSA agent prior to it entering the  x-ray machine. It may require additional screening. You may also carry canned jars of baby food.  You do NOT need to be with your child if you are transporting breast milk. (Great news for those traveling breastfeeding mamas.) You may also carry the liquid/gel ice packs in order to keep your child’s milk cool.
  5. When its your turn to place everything on the x-ray belt, remember to take your time.  You child will have to come out of their stroller or baby seat. I have found it easy to travel with an Ergo baby carrier and have gotten lucky and been able to keep my daughter in it through the metal detector, with only a quick hand swab after we finished.  Remember the first thing through the x-ray machine is the first thing you will get out on the other side. I found it easiest to have my baby’s car seat/stroller be the first thing to come out so that I had a safe place to lay baby while I got my other things together. My order of things going in; car seat, stroller, bin with purse/shoes/liquids, and last my carry-on bag. Just remember, take your time. If your kid is big enough to walk through, they can walk through and wait for you just on the other side. TSA realizes you are together and will not let you be split you.  Instruct them NOT to touch the sides. If they can’t walk through, you can of course carry them through in your arms.
  6. Everything has to be screened… baby toys, blankets, stroller, car seat… if it will not fit through the machine, you will need to notify an agent so that they can screen the item.
  7. Children under 18 are not required to have an ID for domestic travel.
  8. If you are traveling with a child that has special needs or if you will need special assistance getting hrough security, call TSA CARES 72 hours prior at 855-787-2227.

When going through security, keep in mind that these people are strangers and you will likely never see them again. Don’t get in a rush and drop things or forget things. Take your time and remember that no one in the airport is more important than your little ones.
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