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Transportation Security Administration

Traveling with Children

To ensure your security, all travelers are required to undergo screening. However, TSA has developed modified screening procedures for children who appear to be 12 years old and younger. TSA officers will consult parents or the traveling guardian about the best way to relieve any concerns during the screening of a child.

For children 13 years and older, TSA’s standard screening procedures apply. Accessible property of all travelers, regardless of age, must be screened. If there is an alarm, the individual will undergo additional screening.

Children with Medical Conditions, Disabilities, or Mobility Aids

Inform the TSA officer if the child has a disability, medical condition or medical device, and advise the officer of the best way to relieve any concerns during the screening process.

Inform the TSA officer if your child is able to walk through the metal detector or needs to be carried through the metal detector by the parent/guardian. You may carry your child to ease the screening process. The TSA officer will not remove your child from his/her mobility aid, wheelchair or scooter.

Request Assistance

TSA Cares is a helpline to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. Call TSA Cares 72 hours prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. You may also call to request assistance at the checkpoint.

Formula, Breast Milk, and Juice

For the purposes of our screening procedures, an infant is defined as a child who must be physically carried by an adult throughout the screening process. A toddler is defined as a child who receives assistance in walking by an adult throughout the screening process.

Notify the TSA Officer

Formula, breast milk and juice for infants or toddlers are permitted in reasonable quantities through the security checkpoint. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings.

Inform the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process that you carry formula, breast milk and juice in excess of 3.4 ounces in your carry-on bag. These liquids are typically screened by X-ray.

Screening Formula, Breast Milk and Juice

TSA officers may need to test liquids for explosives or concealed prohibited items. Officers may ask you to open the container and/or have you transfer a small quantity of the liquid to a separate empty container or dispose of a small quantity, if feasible.

Inform the TSA officer if you do not want the formula, breast milk and/or juice to be X-rayed or opened. Additional steps will be taken to clear the liquid and you or the traveling guardian will undergo additional screening procedures, to include a pat-down and screening of other carry-on property.

X-ray Screening

The Food and Drug Administration states that there are no known adverse effects from eating food, drinking beverages and using medicine screened by X-ray.

3-1-1 Liquids Rule Exemption

Formula, breast milk, juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. You do not need to travel with your child to bring breast milk.

Ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in carry-on. If these accessories are partially frozen or slushy, they are subject to the same screening as described above. You may also bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred and processed baby food in carry-on baggage. These items may be subject to additional screening.

Screening of Children’s Items

  • Place all carry-on baggage such as children's toys, bags and blankets on the X-ray belt for screening.
  • Strollers, umbrella-strollers, baby carriers, car and booster seats and backpacks must be screened by X-ray.
  • Place items in the stroller pockets or baskets, in a carry-on bag or on the X-ray belt for screening.
  • Equipment that does not fit through the X-ray machine will undergo a visual/physical inspection by TSA officers.

Screening Technology

Walk-Through Metal Detector

Children able to walk through the metal detector without assistance may do so separately from their parent or guardian. If they alarm, children are allowed multiple passes through screening technologies and may undergo other procedures to resolve the alarm to reduce the need for a pat-down.

Infants and small children may be carried through the metal detector. Should the alarm sound, additional screening is required.

Advanced Imaging Technology

If your child is able to remain standing in the required position for 5 seconds, he or she may be screened through the advanced imaging technology. If a child 12 and under goes through the machine and alarms, they have an opportunity to go through again or the TSA officer may use other procedures to resolve the alarm to reduce the need for a pat-down.

You may not be screened by this technology when carrying an infant or child.

Screening your Child

  • Children 12 and under can leave their shoes, light jackets and headwear on during screening.
  • Children will not be separated from their parent/guardian.
  • Remove infants and children from their carriers and carry them in arms through the walk-through metal detector.
  • Infants may be carried in a sling through the walk-through metal detector but may be subject to additional screening.
  • Modified screening procedures are in place to reduce the likelihood of a pat-down.