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.
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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?

Posted by Mommy Points | 12 Comments

12 Responses to “How To Not Drop Your Baby When Going Through Airport Security”

  1. Gt5309a says:

    Just went thru security today at DCA term A and we had to take the baby out of the carrier. No big deal though.

  2. Jacob reaves says:

    WHEW!!! I THOUGHT THIS WAS GOING TO BE A VIDEO OF ME!!! I dropped my 1.5 year old with almost exactly the same method. Everyone around screamed and it was so embarrassing. That being said I am a good dad! I promise!

  3. grrljock says:

    When our kids were really little, my spouse could go through security with one of them in an Ergo carrier. I remember the screener instructing us to remove our son’s shoes, though (which I thought was ridiculous).

  4. mommypoints says:

    Gt5309a, sadly doesn’t surprise me – especially since it seems to not be clear even on the website anymore. Good thinking having the carrier though!
    Jacob, eek!
    grrljock, rules are always changing. You should be able to keep the kid’s shoes on now though…at least until they are over 12.

  5. Carrie says:

    MP asked: How do you safely get your baby through security? Carrie replied: I honestly can’t remember!! LOL!! Our girls are only 13 and 9 and we traveled with them many times, even traveled to Disney World with them and TWO strollers at one point, but I seriously cannot remember how we made it through! It’s crazy! I think I’m blocking it out because at one point I do remember DH exclaiming “this is nuts!” as we were trying to retrieve the diaper bag, strollers, etc. Hang in there, everyone, it DOES get better. My girls are now seasoned pros, they know exactly what to pack for inflight, what to do at security and how to roll with the whole travel experience. It’s now great!

    • mommypoints says:

      Carrie, so true. Even though my daughter is now only 4 (well in a few days 4), it already is so so so so much easier than that first year or two. It does get better, but some strategy is required at the beginning. ;)

  6. Ben says:

    One of the things I ask (and it worked 50% of the times, in the 8 trips with our daughter) is to empty the stroller, but to leave it open and pass it through the metal detector. It makes life significantly easier…

  7. turgutbey says:

    +1 on baby carrier. My 10 month old daughter has been on 14 flights now and i’ve done stroller, car seat stroller frame thingy, and baby carrier. Baby carrier was by far the easiest and didn’t have to remove her @ SEA in november. Downside is its nice to have a stroller for long layovers so she can nap in it.

  8. Emily E says:

    I always used a simple pouch sling. i don’t recall having to take the baby out for security in almost 6 years of flying with babies but I could be wrong. It can be a little harrowing, especially if you have bottles or breastmilk that they insist on checking but otherwise not too big a deal as long as you know what you are doing and are confident.

  9. Joey says:

    I traveled with my daughter and my 3 month old granddaughter in September and security made my daughter take the baby out of the sling she had her in.

  10. A. S. says:

    Was that a Ninja?!?

  11. I put together a video that breaks down how I go through security with a baby: http://www.strollerpacking.com/video-airport-security-with-a-baby/

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