Nothing put fear into the hearts of traveling parents than having to pass through airport security with a baby. With a little preparation, there really is nothing to fear...
Practice makes perfect - For toddlers old enough to understand, take the time to talk and prepare your child for what to expect. Use story books or bedtime tales to go over the routine several times prior to your departure. Even better, when possible, visit your local airport with your little one. Let them see first hand all the travelers going thru security without worry.
Security Blankets Need to be Secure too - If you must take your child's security blanket or favorite toy along on your flight, this beloved item will need to be scanned too. Let your child know this ahead of time and tell them they will get it back on the other side of the scanner. One mom that I met at the airport used a counting game to distract their little one...Saying they would get their toy back by the time mom counted to 100.
ID Requirements - Children under the age of 18 are not required to have an ID to fly on domestic flights within the U.S. Babies, toddlers and all children flying internationally to foreign countries are required to have a valid U.S. Passport.
Baby Carriers - Parents must carry infants through check points. Infant carriers need to be put through Xray screening. Nobody wants to disturb a sleeping child but infant carriers have been used to hide explosives and contraband.
You & Your Child Will Never Be Separated - If for any reason you or your child require additional screening you will both go together. You can request a private screening area or you can request to speak to a supervisor if you feel additional screening is uncalled for.
Baby Liquids - Parents are allowed to bring medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities. These types of liquids are not governed by the 3.4 oz (100ml) limited and do not have to be contained in a ziploc bag (although ziploc bags are a great idea for keeping your diaper bag contents dry and secure). Parents will need to make TSA agents aware that they are carrying extra liquids by declaring the need for a visual bag inspection. All other carry on liquids like toothpaste, shampoo & deodorants must be in accordance with the TSA 3-1-1 rules.
Food & Snacks - Unless on a very long flight, most airlines no longer serve meals, only a very limited selection of snacks which may not be the best healthy choices for kids. Parents should bring snacks and meals onboard for their kids, and themselves. The best choices are prepackaged foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables often is not allowed to cross interntional borders.
Many larger airports have special security lines for families and passengers that may need extra assistance. This often makes traveling parents with infants and toddlers a bit more relaxed. Being in line with fellow sympathic moms & dads is often more reassuring than delaying an anxious laptop-toting, slip on shoe businessman.
Once you've had your initiation flight with your little one, you'll appreciate that it's often far less difficult in real life than it is in your imagination. No worries! You've got this!