How To Not Drop Your Baby When Going Through Airport Security

Dec 18, 2013

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You may have already seen the security recording of a baby in Poland who almost hits the ground after going through airport security and being propped on the screening table.  The baby was saved from the fall only at the last second by a superman-like dive from airport security.  If you haven’t yet seen it, here it is.

It is easy to criticize the baby’s dad in the video for allowing the situation to exist in the first place (and appearing to put the child back up there after he fell?!), but while I luckily have never had my baby topple off the security screening area, I do know how easy it is for things to go wrong quickly with kids because of a poor split second decision.  Going through airport security with a baby isn’t the easiest task in the world.  Based on the video, I first thought the dad was going through alone with the baby, but apparently the mother was also there just behind them.  Whether you are going through security alone with a baby or not, there are some things you can do differently than in this video so you don’t have to count on a superhero like move to save your baby from smacking the cold hard floor while you put your jacket or shoes back on.

  • Wear your baby through security and at the airport.  By far the easiest way to get through security with a baby is to simply wear them in a baby carrier like a sling, Ergo, or Moby.  This way they are secure and your hands are free.  The ability to do this used to be clearly spelled out on the TSA website, but when I searched today I no longer saw it expressly permitted or prohibited, though my understanding is it is still allowed but expect your hands to be swabbed as an extra security measure.  When C was really little this ability to use a sling through security didn’t exist, so we often had to take her out to carry her through security.
Wearing kids is great in airports or forests!
  • If you don’t wear your baby, send their stroller through last and put the baby in it as soon as you clear security, and before gathering your other belongings.  Especially if you are flying solo with your little one, you need somewhere to put them while you gather your belongings to send through security, and re-gather them on the other side.  A stroller will help with this, so just keep your kid in it as long as you can before going through security and then put them back in it first thing on the other side.  You are still going to have the problem of what to do with your baby while you are collapsing and reassembling the stroller, so practice that one at home so you can do it hopefully with one hand.  If all else fails, hope that someone nice is nearby and willing to help you out with your stroller.
  • If you are flying with a partner, then have one of you in charge of stuff, and one in charge of the little one.  I still think a sling or stroller is a good decision even if you are flying with a partner, but it is handy to have one parent in charge of the kid(s) and one in charge of the stuff when going through security, getting on the airplane, etc.  In my house, we both help out with anything necessary, but I am mainly in charge of C in the airport/airplane and my husband is mainly in charge of getting all our stuff from Point A to Point B.
  • Don’t put your baby on the security screening belt or other high surface.  Obviously putting your little one up on a shelf or table is a dangerous idea, so don’t do it.  Simply think through how you are going to logistically manage getting through security before you ever get to the airport.  In a last ditch pinch, simply putting your baby at your feet (hopefully on a clean blanket) is a better choice than propping them on a high surface as there is nowhere to fall.  Just look to make sure there is nothing dangerous they will put in their mouth or stick their fingers in before putting them on the floor.

How do you safely get your baby through security?

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