Traveling with children can often be a challenging experience under normal circumstances. After September 11, 2001, things even became more complicated. Now, TSA has new rules regarding full body scans and body pat downs. If you plan on traveling with your children in the near future, it is a good idea to start preparing yourself and them now.
Let them know that in order to get on the airplane they have to go through cool screening process. They get to walk through a modern x-ray machine that takes a picture of them. Depending on their age you may have to reassure them that you will go first to show how easy it is. Although the exposure is very minimal, some parents refuse to allow their children to do the scan, fearing the exposure to x-rays. In such a case, the child will have to go through a body pat down. The pat down is also required when going through security if the alarm sounds.
We have spent so much time telling our children to only let the parents or the family doctor touch them and now we are asking them let a complete stranger touch them. It can be surprising and a bit traumatic if they are not prepared. However, the pat down is non-invasive, but nonetheless, it can make a child feel very uncomfortable.
The best way to prepare them is to show them what to expect. It is basically a rub down of the legs, arms, waist, tummy and back. They do it quickly and efficiently. Let your child know that if this should happen that you will be right by there side. TSA guarantees you will not be separated from your child. Once again, offer to go first to show your child that there is nothing to it.
Getting through security can be a breeze if you just prepare yourself and your children ahead of time. Be patient, some children take longer to adapt than others. After all, most of us have always taught our children the difference between “good touch” and ” bad touch”, it is important that they understand that this is a “good touch” that is necessary to keep us safe, get us on the airplane and that you will always be right there with them.
Below is a link to the TSA website and it demonstrates the procedure through a series of videos for traveling children at various ages. It is essential for any traveling parents to look at their website, in order to avoid any unexpected surprises!