Tips on taking young children through the security checkpoint

If you plan to fly with a young child this Summer, you may want to watch the video embedded above. It shows the ordeal of a three year old child who was selected for a secondary screening. As is often the case, the TSA shows how not to deal with a child who is obviously scared of what is being done to her.
The video mentions a couple of things you can do to make the experience more relaxing for them. Some of the things I would add are:

  • Be sure to empty their pockets – little kids often add coins and other metal objects to their pockets, so just like you go through your own pockets, do the same for your kid(s).
  • Tell your child that they’ll need to put their teddy, dolly or other comfort item in their bag, taking items like that through the checkpoint will only delay things. Be creative, and tell your child that their teddy needs a checkup. I suggest putting their item in your luggage well before you reach the checkpoint, that way they’ll have a couple of minutes to get used to the idea. Let them know that they can get it back as soon as you reach the other end of the checkpoint.
  • If you do run into a TSA agent that demands to subject your child to a secondary screening, try and make sure you explain to your child what the (bad) man or women is going to do, and if possible, turn it into a fun game.
  • If the TSA agent is clearly being too rough with your child, make some noise, demand a private screening and request a supervisor. Do not accept anyone at the checkpoint that is rough or rude to your child.
  • I would not recommend recording the screening with your mobile phone (like done in the video above) as it may only make matters worse. If something really bad is happening, the TSA supervisor will be able to review their own video material.