Any type of travel with a baby can be stressful but the thought of airport security with a baby can make even the most seasoned family traveler shudder. But fear not with our easy tips for navigating airport security with a baby we will help your journey be stress-free.
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Important Information About Traveling Through Airport Security with babies
If you are traveling through an American Airport is is important to realise that everyone traveling through, regardless of age has to screened prior travel.
However you should not be concerned about being separated from your baby as it is TSA policy to never separate children from their parents or responsible adult.
Navigating Airport Security with a Baby Tips
Now whenever I travel through airports, whether or not I am with a baby or not I recommend arriving early. There is nothing worse than rushing through an airport feeling hot and stressed about missing a flight, and it is an even worse feeling with babies.
That is because it can take you longer to go through security with a baby as you will have liquids, foods and additional things that may require extra security.
Be sure to leave adequate time in case of holds up traveling through airport security with a baby.
Know your Allowances
Although when traveling with a baby on a plane you are allowed liquids in larger quantities than regular passengers it is important to know your allowances and stick to them.
There is nothing worse that having something confiscated because it doesn’t meet TSA or international standards especially with a baby.
Also if you are traveling international don’t presume that just because you are allowed a certain amount by TSA policies that international regulations will be the same. WE recommend always checking departure airports for up to date information on allowance
Know Prohibited Items
Also be sure to know things that are prohibited to go through security as this will cause a hold up if you take them.
Know the Rules
And even though TSA and international agents are trained in dealing with families and babies I recommend knowing the rules before travel in case you have any issue.
It is good to be sure on what the policies say before you go through security and even have them ready on your phone in case you need to refer to them.
Pack your Carry On Carefully
One of the most important things when flying with a baby and especially when going through airport security with a baby is to make sure you have packed your carry on carefully.
Have plenty of ziploc bags with you and pack your liquids correctly to speed up the process and I recommend putting all of your baby things together so you can get them out of your bags and through the scanners quicker and easier.
Look for family lanes
Family lanes can be a great find for people traveling with a baby. They often are next to scanners that can best scan baby formula or breast milk and has officers that are most familiar with the rules for flying with a baby.
We always look to go through this lane if an airport has one.
However there can be a downside. As this line is dedicated to families it can move a bit slower as lots of people will have to scan milk, formula and be putting big items like strollers or car seats through the scanner.
But on the up side I find it less flustering to go through this lane as everyone is in the same boat.
Do TSA PreCheck
TSA PreCheck is an absolute must for anyone eligible with a baby or toddler as it is such a HUGE timesaver.
The Precheck line tends to move very quickly and you won’t have to remove your shoes, belt, or jacket, or take liquids or electronics out of your bag.
Also it is worth noting that if you have Precheck children under 12 are not required to have their own number.
However if you want Global Entry because you travel internationally a lot you will be required to get Global Entry for your baby too.
And you can even take a stroller, car seat or carrier through TSA Precheck.
Don’t get Flustered
And above all, try not to get flustered going through security with a baby. I know easier said than done when you seem to be traveling with everything but the kitchen sink.
However TSA and security officers I have always found very understanding and patience when I have traveled with my children as babies and toddlers. Stay calm and the process will go much quicker and stress-free.
Questions About Airport Security with a baby
Can I bring a stroller through airport security?
Remember that you can absolutely travel through airport security with a stroller. We like to travel through security with a stroller as it can be handy to use for babies napping and to free up your hands if you are traveling with lots of luggage.
However there is a downside and that is that you will need to take baby out of the stroller to go through security. That is because the stroller will be needed to be scanned like hand luggage.
Also, don’t forget to check any storage baskets etc for items like liquids that need scanning separately.
Even with the drawbacks of traveling with a stroller through airport security, personally I still like to have it and gate check it.
Just remember to have a stroller bag ready for gate checking. There are lots of stroller travel bags on the market but we recommend using this one.
Can I bring a car seat through airport security?
Yes you can bring a car seat through security and is definitely something we recommend doing.
That is because when it comes to traveling with a lap baby vs baby having its own seat, the car seat is by far the safest, albeit more costly option.
It will need to go through the scanners however and you will need to consider how you are going to transport the car seat as they are cumbersome.
Options for transporting your car seat through airport security include
- using a car seat bag.
- using a strap to attach to luggage if you have a wheeled suitcase
- use your stroller to transport the car seat and baby wear (this is an option of I have used many times)
- get a car seat with wheels attached
- or add wheels onto your car seat
For a full guide on taking a car seat through airport security check out this post.
Can I baby wear through airport security?
Yes you can absolutely baby wear through airport security and it can be the best option. If you choose the right type of carrier you will be able to take them through the whole process without removing them from the carrier.
Keep reading for a full guide on baby wearing through airport security.
Can I travel with formula?
Yes you can travel with formula and you don’t need to be concerned about liquid restrictions so much as formula and baby milk has an exception.
You can travel with formula in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. Just be sure to tell the TSA officer and remove the items from the carry on as it requires extra screening.
As with anything when flying from an International airport be sure to check the local rules and regulations.
For a more detailed guide on flying with a formula fed baby check out this post.
Can I travel with breast milk?
Like with formula, you can travel with breast milk in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. Again you just need to ell the TSA officer and remove the items from the carry on as it requires extra screening.
Also if you plan to travel with frozen breast milk you can travel with items to help keep cool.
For more information on flying with breast milk check out this post.
Baby food at Airport Security?
Similar to breast milk, and formula, bay food is exempt from the liquid allowances. However it will need additional screening.
Also, if you are doing baby-led weaning this is easier for travel in some ways as this doesn’t rely on feeding food in liquid state.
Baby Wearing through Airport Security
When traveling through an American airport and dealing with TSA the good news is that you’re not required to remove your baby from their soft carrier.
The TSA will allow you to go through the metal detector while wearing your baby providing it is completely soft with no metal but you may also be required to do additional screening even if there is not an alarm.
My advice is always follow the advice and instructions of TSA officers to the letter.
Do all Airports have the same rules about baby wearing through airport security?
If you are traveling through an American airport then security is governed by TSA policies and procedures so will have the same stance on baby wearing.
However if you are traveling internationally you will find that every country will have slightly different rules. Just be sure to follow whatever the security or customs officer says.
For instance while traveling through Birmingham Airport with a baby in the UK I was made to remove my baby from a soft sided carrier as it is UK security policy to make babies be removed from carriers to pass security.
Babywearing in a framed carrier through airport security
Also if you decide to wear a framed carrier or hard sided carrier through security, either through an American airport with TSA or internationally, you will almost always be asked to remove the child andhvae the carrier screened like hand luggage.
What is the best carrier for airport security
The best type of carrier for traveling through airport security has to be a soft sided one, particularly in the US where you will not have to remove your baby from the carrier to proceed.
One of the most popular baby carriers for travel that is also great for TSA is the ErgoBaby. This is completely soft sided so can be worn through security and also is the best type of carrier for your baby’s posture and has been recommend by the Hip Dysplasia Society.
If you go for a different carrier just be sure that there are no metal parts as this will cause the alarms to go off and subject you to extra screening.
FAQs about airport security with a baby
Where can I find TSA policies for going through security with a baby
If you are traveling through an American airport and want to know all the TSA policies and procedures for traveling with a baby check out this page – TSA’s “Traveling with Children” page.
Is a carrier or stroller better for airport security?
I think both carriers and strollers have merits in airport settings. However if you want the option that is least disruptive to your baby it is easier to take your baby through security in a carrier, providing it is soft sided.