Tips for Clearing Airport Security When Flying With Kids
Does the thought of clearing airport security with excited kids make you shudder with fear? Relax and follow these tips to clear security with ease and enjoy the journey.
* Prepare kids for the security screening process before arriving at the airport. Talk about what happens, the equipment used and set guidelines for behavior. Play airport security games so young kids are prepared for the ordeal. Allow enough time at the airport to review the process, point out the various machines and reiterate behavior expectations prior to entering the security line.
* Allow extra time at the airport. Kids are never fast and this is especially true in airports.
* Everyone should wear shoes that are easy to take on and off – including the adults!
* Visit the TSA website prior to every flight to check for any changes in rules. Nothing slows you down like being pulled aside for further screening because you packed a prohibited item.
* Body lotions often contain glycerin, which can cause a false reading on the TSA swab test for explosives. Save yourself the hassle of further screening by avoiding lotions until through security.
* Check and double-check that all liquids and gels are included in clear quart-sized zip top bag. Remember that liquids should be in their original containers and must be 3 ounces or less. There are some exceptions for infant formula, milk and juice. The juice should be “toddler juice” – saying kids, tots or something similar on the label helps.
* Designate one parent to be in charge of the kids as they clear security. The other parent should manage all the gear – including electronics, zip-top bags and laptops.
* Strollers will have to be collapsed at security and go through the x-ray machine. Babies are not allowed to stay in carriers (such as a Baby Bjorn) for the screening. You will have to take the carrier off and send it through the x-ray machine.
* Expect long lines. Keep small toys or stickers handy to entertain kids.
* You are allowed to bring reasonable quantities of formula, milk or juice for infants and toddlers traveling with you. Be sure to tell the security person where this is packed and assume that it will subject you to additional screening. Save time by packing powdered formula and buying water/juice once through security.
* Give you children instructions about what to do once they are through the metal detectors. Be clear and precise. For example, “Grab your shoes and walk to the red bench and wait for mommy.”
* Many airports have family lanes – use them! The security staff in these lanes generally have special training and experience in helping families clear security. You will never be separated from your child but anyone over the age of 3 is generally expected to walk through the metal detector unaided.
The most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Kids will mirror your mood so if you act stressed, they are likely to sense this and misbehave. A smile (even forced) can help ease the tension and keep your kids relaxed throughout the process.