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Thanksgiving Travel: TSA Tips for Kids

airport security

air travel for kids

If you’re preparing to travel by plane to your Thanksgiving destination, surely you’ve heard about the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s controversial new pat-downs and body scanners.

Last week, Madeline wrote that some families are so fed up with the new invasive safety regulations that they’re calling on air travelers to opt out of the TSA’s full-body scans on Wednesday, November 24th and instead submit to enhanced pat downs — which will inevitably slow down travel on what’s traditionally the busiest travel day of the year.

I was also freaked out to read about the 3-year-old who was patted down by TSA agents after setting off the metal detector twice and the mom who said she was sexually assaulted during the enhanced pat-down she received. Makes me glad we’re not leaving town for Thanksgiving.

But if you are traveling with kids, the L.A. Times provides some helpful tips:

1. A child under 12 who opts out of the body scanner will undergo “a modified pat-down search.” Children over 12 who opt out of the body scanner get the regular pat-down. Citing security reasons, the TSA has declined to say what the modified pat-down entails.

2. If an alarm goes off during a screening (as with the aforementioned 3year-old), even children under 12 will be subject to a full pat-down.

3. To prepare kids, explain the procedures they may encounter “including the possibility that they may be touched by TSA personnel as part of a pat-down. Parents won’t necessarily be with their kids as they pass through the scanner or get patted down,” according to The Los Angeles Times.

4. You might also check out the TSA’s advanced imaging technology web page to show your kids what the full-body scan entails.

These are helpful hints, but how do tell young children that it’s okay for strangers to touch their bodies?

Are you disturbed by the new procedures? How do you plan to explain them to your kids?

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