Air travel with babies and managing the stresses of airport security with kids can be daunting. And you have not even gotten on the plane yet! From fears of your children having meltdowns in the lineup to having your car seat and stroller inspected, to knowing what you can and cannot bring through security with kids. There are so many questions that families have when they go through their first few airports with babies, toddlers, and young kids! These 5 tips for airports with kids will help make the beginning of your vacation, a much less stressful one!
5 Tips for Air Travel with Babies and Toddlers
1. Baby Carriers and Airport Security
If you have your baby in a wrap or baby carrier they will likely ask you to take it off can just hand carry the baby through the metal detector. I have found certain airports offer extra screening instead (such as wiping your hands for explosives etc but it varies by country and airport). Usually, if my babies were awake, I just took them out of my Artipoppe baby carrier before I even got to the front of the line, and tossed it into the airport tray with my diaper bag.
2. Head for the Handicap Sign
In many airports we have been able to go into the handicap line as those passengers often take longer to pass security and a family with strollers and carseats and baby gear take a lot of time too! They will swab your stroller if it does not fold and fit into the xray machine.
Parents also often have a lot of carry on baggage and extra liquids which require extra checking. By moving those with mobility issues and families out of the main lineups, they are able to keep the other passengers moving quickly through security.
3. Bringing Liquids on the Plane for Babies
One of the biggest concerns for parents that are flying with a baby is liquids. You are able to bring just about as much liquids as you need through security as long as it is for the baby. Be prepared to open it though, so try and bring containers with screw on lids. We carry a carton of rice milk because my boys are lactose intolerant and we make sure to buy one with a screw on lid in case security wants to check it. Most times they just want to swab the outside, but some airports have asked it to be opened.
if you have formula, I suggest a container from Innobaby, their tiered Packin’ Smart is great for pre-measuring out the amounts you need. You can bring sealed water bottles to mix your formula when you are ready to make bottles for your baby. (I always pack two bottles of water when my boys were babies anyways, its expensive to buy before you get on the plane and it’s nice to have something for the plane that has a lid because with kids, you know those glasses they offer on board don’t stand a chance!
One mistake we made was bringing our Medela travel case with the ice pack. They took the ice pack away. Next time we would leave it at home, pack the bottles in a ziplock with ice and then pour out the ice before security. We were easily able to get ice at the restaurants on the other side of security. The plane also gave us ice and they are usually willing to warm bottles for you too! You just need to ask!
4. Leave the Bulky Items to the Agents
As for the actual airport security with kids part, we often have car seats and strollers that we choose to gate check. (You can read which car seat bags we use here.) As we load our stuff on to the belts they take the items that will not fit into the belt and manually check them. They are often ready for us before we even get through the metal detector.
5. Stay Calm and Do not feel Rushed
I have found that the best way to get through security is just to be calm and not rush, explain the liquids (if any) that you have and let them do their job. Don’t argue when they ask to open something to test it, it’s just for everyone’s safety. And if you pack these containers, with a few bottles of water for mixing formula, you will not have much issues.
You can also find useful information on security procedures for airports in the USA or Canada. If you are traveling abroad to other countries I highly suggest checking what is and what is not allowed through airport security before you leave for your trip.
If you ever in doubt ask! And that goes for the Cabin Crew too! They are their for your safety and will have the best information for pretty much any question that comes up!
You can check out our Packing Tips posts for helpful ideas for your next flight:
Check out the Best Toddler Travel Beds
If you are looking for a stroller for your trip, check out the Best Travel Stroller
What has your security experience been like with kids? Have you found some country’s agents easier to deal with than others? would love to hear your experiences in the comments!
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Lindsay Nieminen hails from Vancouver, Canada and shares her love of travel on this website. She is passionate about showing others that they should not put off traveling the world just because they have young children or are single parents. She aims to encourage them to seek out adventure, whether it is at home or abroad by providing information on how just about everywhere can be a destination to explore as a family.