Family travel tips for flying with kids. Airport security is tedious at the best of times. Throw in crying babies, large and bulky strollers, multiple bags and bottles of liquid that most other passengers are not supposed to be carrying and it can become very tricky indeed. But once you understand how airport security works, travel with kids really isn’t that bad. Here are all the travel tips you need to successfully clear airport security with children.
Be as organised as possible. Know where everything is in your bags so you can get to them at a moment’s notice.
Minimise the number of bags you have with you. It’s far easier to keep track of one nappy bag and one large carry on then five or six small bags.
Keep all the items that you think airport security might question you about together in clear, resealable plastic bags so they are easy to access and identify. This includes all liquids and gels (such as infant paracetamol, teething gel, nappy rash creams), milk, water and food. Be prepared that you may be asked to open some of the edible liquids and food packs to prove their contents.
Tell airport security about all your entertainment devices. For instance, if you are carrying a DVD player that could be mistaken for a laptop, let security know so you don’t get told off for not taking it out of your bag for screening.
Avoid packing anything you aren’t supposed to carry with you. With the exception of liquids you can’t avoid (such a baby’s milk), avoid carrying prohibited items like spare batteries for kids’ toys so you can minimise the number of questions you will be asked at security.
Explain to older kids beforehand about the airport security process and have them place their own bags on the conveyor belt and take responsibility for collecting them at the other end. If they are carrying iPods or other entertainment devices, have them consolidate these in their bags before you get to the security queue so they don’t get lost. Talk to them about walking through the metal detectors on their own and also about the need to move quickly and listen to instructions in the airport.
Take smaller kids and infants out of baby carriers before you join the security queue as you will usually be required to take the carriers off anyway. Remove your child, take everything out of the stroller and collapse it before you get to security as well, as you will not be allowed to push the child through the metal detector in the stroller.
Put your valuable items
through the security belt last so they are with you for the maximum amount
of time and close to you at all times. This includes your wallet, passports and
other important travel documents. That way, if you are held up at security,
these items will be close at hand, not way down the other side of the security
section where you cannot see them.
Go through airport security with kids early. There is a strong likelihood that you might be held up opening and showing bottles of water and food, so the more time you leave for this, the better.
Be prepared to be patient. Depending on the country you are in and the mood of the security people at the time you happen to meet them, airport security can be a tedious process for parents traveling with kids. Staff can be rude, unreasonable and unwilling to compromise. And while you’re coping with that, kids can be disobedient, noisy and troublesome. If you arrive prepared for this you are far more likely to be able to cope if things get a little inconvenient. Or, if it all goes well, you may be in for a pleasant surprise!
Image: Michelle Leung