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Security officials at Nino Aquino International Airport (NAIA/MNL) in Manila, Philippines were recently surprised by a bizarre image on one of their X-ray scanners—a sleeping infant zipped inside a backpack.

According to Manila’s ABS-CBN News, Jenifer Pavolaurea, a 25-year-old single mother and nursing graduate student, confessed that she had failed to obtain necessary immigration clearance for her 2-month-old son to join her on an Air Nuigini flight to her native country, Papua New Guinea, and instead attempted to smuggle him through security in her carry-on.

Security officials at Manila’s NAIA airport were surprised when one of their x-ray scanners detected unusual cargo—a baby. (Image courtesy of Manila’s ABS-CBN News)

Luckily for both mom and baby, authorities decided not to press charges and eventually allowed them continue their journey.

In 2012, The Daily Mail reported a similar incident involving an Egyptian couple who weren’t so fortunate. Having also failed to secure proper travel documentation for their child, the couple attempted to thwart security at the U.A.E.’s Sharjah International Airport (SHJ) by tucking their 5-month-old baby into a duffle bag. When an image of the child was detected by an X-ray scanner at customs, SHJ security officials weren’t sympathetic to the parents’ paperwork oversight, and arrested the couple for child endangerment.

Based on these experiences, I’d gently advise parents of very young children to determine and process their required legal travel documentation far in advance of booking tickets for an overseas flight—and to keep their children out of their luggage.

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