After packing for your family vacation, you are ready to go to the airport. When you get there, you realize that the craziness is not over yet. You still have to make it through airport security with your children.
Passing through airport security with children is an adventure all of its own. It suddenly feels like your light carryon weighs a ton and your outgoing child turns shy when asked to walk through the metal detectors. Besides that, the business guy behind you is huffing and puffing to show you how annoyed he is, while invading your personal space as much as possible to show you just how frustrated he is that you are traveling with children and moving at a snail’s pace.
Getting through airport security with children doesn’t have to be painful or stressful. Here are a few tips to help ease your way right through.
13 Tips for Getting Through Airport Security With Children
1. Get in the fast lane. At some airports, there are lanes designated just for families with young children and other people needing assistance. Before getting in line, look for such a line and take advantage of it.
2. Wear appropriate shoes. Removing your shoes is still required at many airports. Save yourself and your children the hassle by outfitting everyone in slip-ons so you can slip em’ off easily, then back on again.
3. Be kind to other passengers even though they may not be patient with you. If a person who appears to be in a hurry gets behind you in line, kindly suggest they choose a different line because your family might take longer than the average passenger. And don’t forget to smile.
4. Limit your carry-ons. You don’t need to max out your carry-on allowance. Watch out because Spirit Airlines is charging for carry-ons now. Take only what you need, especially if you have young children or babies with you. Just getting them through security is tough enough.
5. Have one person be responsible for important travel documents like boarding passes and passports. Keep them all together, and be sure to retrieve them after they go through the x-ray machine.
6. Don’t stow all of the carry-ons in the stroller before the security check. If you load all kinds of odds and ends in the stroller, you’ll regret it when you get to the security line and have to unload it all. After you make your way through security, then you can make yourself comfortable as you walk around the terminal and wait at your gate.
7. Take your time and don’t get stressed. Yes, there will be people waiting behind you as you try to unload everything onto the x-ray machine belt and get everyone’s shoes off, but don’t worry about it. I’ve noticed that when our family tries to rush through the process, it’s more stressful. Just take your time, and especially be patient with your children, because they’re probably busy looking around at all the things they can do in the airport while you’re telling them to walk through the metal detector.
8. Carry your baby in a carrier like a Baby Bjorn instead of pushing him in a stroller. It seems like the TSA workers have let me walk through the detector with my baby attached to me, but have not as often allowed me to push the baby through in a stroller. Usually they want the stroller to go through the x-ray machine. However, if your baby is asleep, kindly ask if it’s possible to leave him as he is You never know, you might just find a friendly security officer.
9. Prep the kids on the basic ins and outs of security. Before arriving at the airport, tell the kids what will happen when you get to security. Tell them that they may have to take off their jackets and shoes, they’ll have to put their backpack on an x-ray machine that will take a picture of what’s inside (be sure to tell that them they’ll get their bag on the other side!), and that they’ll have to walk through a metal detector. Try to alleviate any fears without creating unnecessary ones. Inform them that if a security officer asks to search them, they must obey the officer. Teach them that security is for everyone’s good.
10. Prep your stuff. Pack any liquids in a small zip-lock bag that is easily accessible. Also, be prepared to remove your laptop or other electronic devices you are carrying on.
11. Check your pockets for pocket knives and other contraband before you leave. It’s always embarrassing when you have to say, “I didn’t know I had that knife – honest!”
12. Don’t appear guilty. Stay relaxed – even if you’re selected for one of those random searches. While you’re getting searched, assure your young children that everything is fine.
13. Get all of your stuff that’s been searched. Before moving on, make sure you have everything you started with. Our family just usually grabs everything and finds the nearest bench outside the screening area. There, we can take a quick inventory of our stuff, regroup, get everyone redressed, feed any hungry babies, then continue on our adventure.
How do you get through security with children stress-free?