If you don’t fly with children very often, the screening experience can be a little overwhelming. Below are some tips from the TSA web site to help you and your children to know what to expect.
General Screening Information
- Children 12 and under can leave their shoes on during screening.
- TSA will not ask travelers to do anything that will separate them from their child.
- All carry-on baggage, including children's toys, bags and items, will be screened. Please let your child know that their blanket, favorite stuffed animal or toy will have to go through the X-ray machine and then will be returned to them.
- Ask a security officer for help gathering bags and equipment, if needed.
The Walk-Through Metal Detector
- Children who can walk without assistance should walk through the metal detector separately from their parent or guardian. If they alarm, TSA has procedures in place that have reduced, but will not eliminate, the need for pat downs to resolve the alarm, including multiple passes through screening technologies and other procedures.
- Infants and small children may be carried through the metal detector, but if the alarm sounds, the officer will have to conduct additional screening on both the passenger and the child.
- If a baby is carried through the metal detector in a sling, additional screening may be required even if there isn't an alarm.
Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT)
- TSA uses advanced imaging technology (AIT) to safely screen passengers for metallic and non-metallic threats. Any passenger capable of assuming and staying in the required position for 5 seconds is eligible for AIT screening.
- If a child 12 and under goes through AIT and alarms, they will have an opportunity to go through the technology again or the Security Officer may use other procedures to resolve the alarm to reduce the need for a pat down.
- Parents carrying infants or children cannot be screened by the imaging technology. In addition, parents accompanying children may opt out of being screened by imaging technology to prevent them from being separated from their family.
- AIT screening is optional for all passengers. Eligible passengers who opt out of AIT screening with receive alternative screening, to include a thorough pat-down.
These are just a few of the informational tips offered by the TSA on its web site. Many passenger advocates suggest that you not only read all of them, but that you also print them out and take them with you in case you encounter a TSA agent who is not following the written TSA procedure.
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