Preparing your kids for a TSA airline security patdown

TSA patdowns


As usual, Debbie of the fantastic travel-with-kids site Delicious Baby is on top of the latest news. This post gives advice about how to talk to your kids about TSA airport security checks.

More: Family travel tips


  1. Rachel says

    There are a lot of comments on the main page, but I thought I would say it here as well. I feel very strongly that no stranger has the right to look at my children naked or touch them at all unless it is medically necessary. The concept of either happening is completely unacceptable to me, and I am considering canceling my holiday travel because of these new security procedures.

  2. holly says

    We just won’t fly. I can’t imagine letting anyone touch any of my 3 girls that way. It’s just not right.

  3. A.L Shugart says

    I understand that the proceedure feels invasive. But remember when you go through xray the technicial doesnt even see your face. This would be like getting your foot, or arm xrayed. It to me would be more emberrasing for preteen-adult women. But you also need to expain to your children that this is to help ward off a terrorist. As for the pat down, this is through cloths, and I am sure you can alway ask for a particular sex of TSA personel to do the pat down. If you are afraid that your child may not respond well to a man touching her ask for a female. Be the example for your children when it comes to the pat down. Go first, and show them how simple it is. I think everyone is making way to big of a deal out of the xrays, and the more comprehensive pat down. Be thankful that these safety measures are being done. I would hate to be in an airlplane that these measures were not done.

  4. says

    Hello- I know this is a really hot issue. I want to be clear, I am not advocating choosing one screening method over the other, nor am I condoning pat downs of children. My intent was to give parents some idea of how to even address this issue if they are going to refuse scanners and may end up in a situation where their child receives a pat down.

    In order to model how we should talk to young children, I kept the discussion about the facts and not about the moral or ethical issues these new screening measures bring up. If you have an older child or teenager, the conversation might look quite different.

    Each parent must judge for themselves what their ethic is around this and how they want to convey that to their children in an age appropriate way. Our children learn from our actions, so stand behind your word and be ok with your child modeling the same behavior as you in other situations. If your child is old enough to understand the difference between objecting on moral grounds to authority because it is wrong for society vs. objecting to authority because you don’t like the rule or law, your options are greater for how you discuss the issue.

    It might be helpful to do some reading about Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development to get an understanding of where your child is at in terms of moral development and what might be an age appropriate way to approach this issue.

    It is great to see parents talking about this and considering all of the implications of our parenting decisions in this case.

  5. Tagga says

    WOOOOOOW I definitely do NOT want to be your child for one day!! You make it sound as if it’s ABSOLUTELY normal & OK to be touched in your privates. Is that the right way to raise a child? That’s called molestation!! & nobody has the right to touch anybody’s genitals no matter what. They better figure out a better way to do it without putting people at risk, nor humiliating them. That’s sick! & by the way terrorists rarely target planes!! they just target crowds..bcs that’s what matters to them..


  6. A. L Shugart says

    They are not touching anybodys genitals. They touch the thigh, and under the beasts, palm down. I agree, TSA’s hands do not have free roam on someones body, especially a child,and have raised my children that if they are uncomfortable with a situation to speak up. I am sure that the guardians of the child are standing right there, and would be keeping a very close eye on where their child is touched.To me, it would not be any different that when my childs doctor has to look at their genitals. These are trained professionals, that I am sure would not put their job on the line to get their Jollies off on a little kid. As far as my parenting skills, and not wanting to be my child for one day that is just fine, everyone has their own parenting styles. Who is one person to say that the style is correct or incorrect as long as the end result is a well balanced child, that is a productive participant in society, and a child that truly indeed know right from wrong. This includes their bodies.

  7. says

    On BoingBoing, Cory Doctorow says “TSA recommends using sexual predator tactics to calm children at checkpoints”–
    reporting that TSA regional security director James Marchand has advised parents whose kids are upset by TSA groping to make a game of it, a suggestion that alarmed sex-abuse prevention experts, since “Telling a child that they are engaging in a game is ‘one of the most common ways’ that sexual predators use to convince children to engage in inappropriate contact.”