Do children have to go through the scanners?
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If your daughters are asked to go through the scanner and you do not want them to, then they will need to undergo a physical search -- I think that is a patdown. You will be allowed to be near them but not touch them. I figured it was quicker and less traumatic to send my kids through the scanners (since they didn't really know how they differed from the metal detectors anyhow) but you can ask for a body search instead if you prefer.
They have to go through the metal detectors. Everyone does. It's no big deal. It's like walking through a door frame, without the door. The new, x-ray-based scanners are a different story - you can ask for a physical pat-down instead of going through those.
They have to get out of their strollers and either walk through the metal detector or be carried (carried only if they can't walk).
You have to go through the metal detector separately, but it's just one right after the other, as a family. You stand together at one side of the "threshold," your children walk through one at a time and wait for you right on the other side (maybe four to six feet away), with the TSA agent. Presuming none of your children "ding," then you walk through right afterwards. They'll be able to see you at all times.
If something trips the metal detector, the TSA agent will make the person go back, and take off whatever made the thing beep. That could be belt buckles, jewelry, cell phones, clothing decorated with lots of studs/"jewels"/metal zippers/chain... It should not beep for things like dental work/braces, eyeglass frames, or the typical number of metal buttons, zippers, snaps,or rivets found on "normal" clothing, but a person with a bunch of these things, embroidery with lots of metallic thread, etc. could end up tripping the buzzer.
My recommendation for kids is to dress them in warmups or sweat pants, since they usually have very little metal and are loose and comfy, and simple tops. Save the bling and flair until you get unpacked at your hotel.
The more prepared you are, the less chance your kids will have a problem while going through security. For example, if your clothing "beeps" and they require you to go through a pat-down, then your kids will have a reason to get upset.
It pays to discuss all this beforehand so the kids have some idea of what to expect.
They should know that everything they carry, every toy, even their favorite teddy, has to go through the x-ray machine, and that everything will be waiting for them on the other side, after they go through the metal detector.
They have to take off their shoes and any coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, etc. that are worn over their regular clothes (a sweater directly over an undershirt can be worn - just let the TSA agent know). Everything they take off has to go through the x-ray machine.
The TSA agents will be there to advise and help you. Whatever you can do to prepare the kids for listening to and trusting the "policemen and policewomen" will be a big help.
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In Los Angeles they have started having families with kids go to a separate security line that is using only metal detectors and not the full body scanners. I also noticed that many airports that have the full body scanners are either not using them or using them in conjunction with with the old fashioned metal detectors and these airports were sending all families to the metal detectors.
I was a bit upset about the full body scanners, less for the "naked" fears, more for any potential radiation exposure. Upon a lot of digging, I found that it is not actually x-ray technology and that any "exposure" we get from the scanners is equal to something like 2 minutes of flying time. What? Who even considers that we are "exposed" to radiation or whatever in the plane? LOL Finally I was able to skip some of the not so factual stuff and decided that there is no real risk. (well, at least in my opinion) Of course, everyone has their own comfort level, and there IS the naked part to make peace with if you are faced with a full body scanner : )
I remember the good old days when you could walk through the metal detector with your infant strapped to your chest in a Baby Bjorn. Not any longer! Everything goes on the belt except the baby and they often times want you to hold them out away from your body as you walk through the metal detector. But it is quick and painless. I found it much harder to get my shy toddlers to willingly walk through. Moms of babies may want to leave them in the stroller while they remove their own metal, belts, jackets, etc. (they usually make you remove and cardigans and zipper hoodies as well) It can be tough to disrobe with a baby!
We flew home from Orlando in December. We have a 3 year old and an 8 year old. This was their first time flying. I had them wear yoga/sweat pants and Velcro and slip-on shoes. My 3 year old thought it was fun going through the check point. She was laughing and saying this is fun( I guess she likes craziness!)
I was a little upset because I deal with my daughter and my husband takes my son. When I came through the metal detector I looked and saw my son(8) coming out of the body scanner. They never told my husband that my son was going in. I don't thing my son even knew the difference, he was fine. Also I was telling my daughter(3) to walk to the man so she could go through the metal detector and he told me I could carry her. A women in front of me picked up her daughter who looked about 5 and carried her through. I guess it depends on the security person.
On our flight down it was a smaller airport without the body scanners. My daughter walked through the metal detector on her own.
Both our children were fine going through security, they knew everything had to go in a bin. They knew they had to take off their shoes and sweatshirts. I had them wear clothes that had no metal and easier to remove shoes. I had explained it to them before we got to the airport.
Last edited by austinsmommie; 01-17-2011 at 07:51 PM..
Thanks for the info Dave! Do you know what the procedure is for the full body scanners & an infant. (our airport has them now) We may be traveling when our youngest will be 6 months old. Thanks!
I've flown through both Logan Airport and TF Green in Providence with our DD (when she was 9 months, 19 months, 20 months) and return flights from MCO and TPA and every time, my DH was directed to the new scanners and I was directed to the old metal detector with my DD in my arms.
I did let them know she could walk at the 19 month and 20 month trips and they said it was okay to still carry her. I'm guessing it's because she isn't really old enough to communicate what to do yet.
Stacey 40, DH (Bill) 46, DD (Mary) 4
Last edited by mzozzietj; 01-17-2011 at 08:10 PM..
We flew through Minneapolis at Thanksgiving and through Orlando in early Dec. Although the new scanners were at the checkpoints and operational, they weren't being used for everyone. Only random folks got sent through them. DD10 and I went through the metal detectors only -- the ones we've always gone through.
So there's a good chance your girls will avoid both the scanners and the patdowns.
Last edited by Carousel96; 01-31-2011 at 09:53 AM..
The airport we fly out of doesn't have the full body scanners yet. (Thank goodness!) So I was wondering about mco... have any of you had experience with small children going through this yet? What is the procedure? Does everyone go through these? Or just if u beep? I have a 3 yr old, so what if he can't stand still for this? automatic pat down?
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MCO does have the scanners. I posted above about our experience in Dec. I'm not sure how they decide who goes through but my eight year didn't even go through the metal detector they just sent him to the scanner. My 3 year old and I went through the metal detectors.
Great advice everyone!!!
I believe too that you need to tell the kids ahead of time. We are going in 2.5 wks to the airport and look around. It helps them to understand things and gets us aquainted with the airport and adds some build up to our trip