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I gotta say – one of the parts that worried me the most about our recent family trip was making sure that we all got through security without any issues.  Our last family trip a few years ago occurred when our kids were singing the Harry Potter puppet pals seemingly nonstop

I was convinced that someone was going to yell at the airport “I found the source of the ticking! IT’S A PIPE BOMB!” followed by all of us being detained for days…..

Thankfully that did not happen, though I don’t think our parental attempts to change the ending to “Voldemort’s clock” did anything….

This time Carolyn did some research and we actually found a whole TSA website talking about kids and security, featuring some animated folks doing “Stop. Screen. Go”

Part of me was kind of creeped out about some of the indoctrination that the TSA was giving us, but I can’t fault the snazzy marketing!  I will say that it definitely helped.  My kids definitely talked about “Stop. Screen. Go” (over. and over. and over.) as we prepared for the trip.  In fact, “Stop Screen Go” was listed by one of my daughters as her favorite part of vacation…

Screening at Midway Airport

You may already know this, but most airports have a special family screening lane, which is often marked for people with strollers / wheelchairs.  You can ask the main worker when you go to security if you have questions, but I have generally not had a problem using that lane when we’re traveling with young kids.

At MDW we were able to use that lane and zoom through everyone waiting (though at about 10 a.m. there wasn’t a huge crowd).  We walked right up to the officer checking boarding passes.  Everyone had to hold their own boarding passes, so I had to pass those out to everyone.

Then, it was off to the conveyor belt (again – we had maybe 1-2 minute wait) and took the long step of putting all our carryons through and then going through security.

One added bonus of the family lane is that you don’t have to go through the cancer box

tsaWhen you’re in the family lane, even the adults get to walk just through a regular X-ray machine.  When we went through at MDW, I realized as I was walking through that I had forgotten to take my belt off, so I stopped and took it off.  Apparently stopping halfway through is a big “no-no” as one of the workers said “You just made things a LOT more complicated”

I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but they must have figured something out as I just continued on.

Screeing at Reno

On our way back in RNO (a much smaller airport) it worked the same way.  There was not a dedicated family / stroller line but there was only maybe 5 people in front of us so it worked fine.  Once our boarding passes were checked, we were able to again go as a family through the regular X-ray machine.

I made sure to take my belt off this time 🙂

Family TSA screening

All in all, it was a successful journey and the agents we worked with were nothing but pleasant.  If you’re looking for another perspective, the HintMama has more information about families going through security as well.

What’s your experience been with going through TSA security with young kids?


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