Traveling with young kids definitely has its challenges. Boredom, earaches and unfamiliar situations can all brew into an unpleasant cocktail of stress and meltdowns. Often, at the top of a parent’s list of worries is safety, both in the airport and in the air. Luckily, preparation and knowledge can help to ease safety-related anxiety for both parents and kids. Here is what you need to know for your next flight:
Car Seats and Restraints
Did you know that the most dangerous place in the airplane for your child is in your lap?
The FAA strongly recommends that children under 40 pounds be restrained in their own seat in a government-approved Child Restraint System (CRS). If you don’t want to lug a heavy carseat on board, try a CARES harness. CARES is an FAA-approved harness that has been tested to a level of equal safety with a forward-facing carseat. Now you can check your carseat through with your luggage, and glide effortlessly on board with your one pound, installs-in-one-minute CARES.
- New security regulations do NOT require children younger than 12 to remove their shoes.
- Children under 12 are allowed to pass through the metal detector multiple times to clear an alarm instead of going immediately for a pat-down.
- Children’s hands may be swabbed for explosive residue.
- Babies cannot go through security in an infant carrier. Make sure you remove your carrier well before you get to the front of the line.
- Medically necessary liquids and gels, including medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are exempt from the 3.4 ounce limit. Just be prepared to remove them and show them to the TSA officer.
- A parent traveling alone with children may opt out of the AIT (Advanced Imaging Technology) if they are not comfortable being separated from their children.
- Parents carrying children cannot be screened in the AIT, as that would require separation from their child.
For a kid-sized perspective on going through security, watch this video from the TSA website, made for kids, by kids.
Per the FAA, children under 18 do not need any identification to travel domestically. However, ALL children (even babies) must have a passport to travel internationally.
It is a good idea to have some type of identifying ID on or with your child in case they get separated from you. There are various products, like temporary tattoos, tags and beepers, that allow you to keep your cell phone number attached to your child.
Anxiety around traveling with children is usually due to fear of the unknown. The more you know, the more at ease you will be. Relax and enjoy your trip!