Airport Security with an Infant
Airport Security is not fun under the best of circumstances but can be even trickier when you travel with an infant. Get through airport security with an infant as quickly and smoothly as possible with tips from The Educational Tourist.
Tips for Airport Security with an Infant
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Airport Security with an Infant – Dress the Part
You are going to have your hands full so make things as easy on yourself as possible:
**Skip the belt if you can so you don’t have to remove and then put it back on.
**Choose shoes that slip on and off hands free.
Mom shoes don’t have to be frumpy! Choose a cute ballet flat like this one from Fuzzy Andie.
You usually don’t hear much about wearing socks but EVERYONE going through airport security should wear them. Why? Well….ponder just for a moment, just how many people take off their shoes and then walk through security. That is a LOT of naked feet. I have news for you if you think that floor is mopped enough – no way. Germs, germs, germs = gross, gross, gross. Just wear socks. Please.
These ultra low cut sock liners are just the ticket to now show in cute flats AND protect your feet from the super gross floors at airport security.
As smart as our machines are they can’t seem to tell the difference between something dangerous and a folded up piece of kleenex. So….empty your pockets of everything.
**Skip jewelry when flying. You’ll either set off the x-ray machine beeper or you’ll have to take it off at the same time you are struggling to fold up the stroller and hold the baby and…and..and…make it easy and just don’t wear any.
**No liquids for you. This is an easy one to forget, but worth taking a moment to look through stuff before you get to the stressful airport security line. Baby stuff like milk can go through (see below) but your caffeine or water can’t.
Airport Security with an Infant – Unwrap Baby
You can carry baby through the airport security metal detector but you can NOT wear them in something like a Baby B’jorn system. I was so sad the first time I discovered this. Baby was sleeping all warm and toasty started to me in the carrier when I was told I couldn’t go through security wearing him. BOO!!! We all know that unwrapping a warm and toasty baby will wake them up and don’t security people know the number one rule about parenting?? Parenting Rule Number One: NEVER, EVER wake a sleeping baby!!
Baby stuff does not have to be ‘baby’ colored. YOU can rock the fun colors of this baby wrap by Hip Baby Wrap.
Step one: Wear baby.
Step two: fold up stroller because if it will fit (and they’ll make you prove it won’t fit otherwise so you’ll have to fold it up anyway) it has to go through the x-ray machine.
Choose a light weight stroller as you’ll be folding it, putting it up on the security x-ray belt AND holding baby at the same time. NOTE – Airport Security people are not allowed to hold babies.
This stroller by Kolocraft Cloud is only 11.8 pounds! I love the color. So many strollers are plain black!
Step four: Unwrap baby so you can walk through the airport x-ray machine yourself
Airport Security with an Infant – Breast Milk and Formula
Thankfully the airport security Gods have FINALLY come to realize breast milk is more valuable than gold and will allow you to take it through security.
You can now carry more than 3.4 ounces of formula, breastmilk, and juice. Thank GOD!! All parents know that babies have very discerning palates and you can’t just buy what they prefer in the airport on the other side of airport security!! Geez Louise! Crazy how long this took to become OK.
Thankfully, you can also carry icepacks to keep it all cool during your journey. For ease – try a soft lunch pails that have a built in ice pack. Put in the freezer the night before your trip and rest easy the next day knowing your baby’s food is nice and cool.
Airport Security – Carseats
The safest place for baby to ride on a plane is in a carseat, but that means buying a seat for them which is expensive. If you do, be prepared to argue with the flight attendant over whether or not your carseat is FAA approved.
Firstly, don’t even try to bring on a non – FAA approved carseat. Crabby flight attendants live for this sort of thing and will pounce on you like bugs on sugar. Print off the official “This carseat is FAA approved note” from the manufacturer website to present to anyone who asks (they will ask). I usually had more than one copy.
This Evenflo infant carrier carseat is reasonably priced and FAA approved.
“Are Evenflo car seats FAA approved?
Because airline seats offer a lap belt only, only Evenflo car seats with an internal harness are approved for airline use. Please check your instruction manual to confirm that your seat may be used in an airplane. We also recommend checking with your airline to ensure your car seat can be brought on board.”
To get through security with a carseat you must remove baby from it and send it through the x-ray machine. You can have it hand checked if you prefer not to send it through the machine but that takes more time and asking a TSA security person to do extra work is asking for trouble. They are not the friendliest people.
You will be stressed during this part of your journey so make it as easy as possible and be prepared to send it through the x-ray machine. I like to have baby already out of it and strapped to me while I put all the stuff on the belt. Last, take baby out of carrier, put carrier on the belt and walk through the x-machine carrying baby.
On the other side you’ll have to put everything all back together so take a deep breath!
Airport Security with an Infant – TSA Precheck
If you have TSA Precheck you’ll be happy to find that children under 12 automatically come along with you. If you don’t have TSA Precheck – you’ll definitely want to consider it! Get all the details on TSA Precheck in this post. The security process is infinitely easier than the norm. I recumbent TSA Precheck all day long and twice on Sundays!
With the TSA Precheck you can leave on your shoes, belts and a light jacket. Not having to undress and juggle baby at the same time makes TSA Precheck worth it’s weight in gold.
Before the days of TSA Precheck I was traveling alone with my 18 month old daughter. I was also very pregnant with baby #2. So there I was, waddling along with toddler who refused to ride in the stroller and the mountain of stuff you have to schlep along for kids when I was informed that I was chosen (yeah me!) for additional security screening. During this screening I had to stand with legs apart and arms outstretched while they studied me. Were they trying to determine if my giant belly was real? Meanwhile toddler kept trying to make a break for it. My toddler would take off running and I would dash off after her and return to my security spot. Each time this happened the security officers became more and more annoyed. They finally determined I was really pregnant or got tired of dealing with me and let us go on. I was exhausted before we even got to the other side of security!
Needless to say – I suggest you get TSA Precheck yesterday!! Walk – no run to get yours!
Read Why YOU need TSA Precheck yesterday here for all the TSA info.
Airport Security with an Infant – Be AWARE!
Just for the record, I have read some lucky souls have had help from the TSA security people. Helping with folding of strollers, helping with heavy items, helping with the juggling with SO much stuff and a baby and I suppose such things are technically possible. However, I personally have NEVER EVER EVER encountered a helpful TSA agent.
As a matter of fact, I have never even met a nice TSA agent. I find TSA agents to be stressed, irritated, busy, and annoyed. Is that a requirement to get hired as a TSA agent? OR perhaps being a TSA agent and encountering stressed and annoyed travelers every single day all day long that makes them that way? Either way- DO NOT COUNT ON THEIR HELP.
You must manage on your own, so pack carefully and give yourself plenty of time. You CAN do this, momma!!
Read about What to Pack when you Travel with an Infant!
Enjoy travels with baby! If baby has older siblings you’ll need to keep them busy, too! Moms need more arms!! Read my post about how to keep preschoolers busy and occupied while traveling. Elementary school aged brothers and sisters will enjoy travel guides written just for kids!
Happy baby travels!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist