Getting through airport security with young kids

Going through airport security is usually a fairly mundane procedure, but when you have young children in tow you may need to do a little more planning. Check out these useful tips to help make getting through airport security a little easier next time you fly with kids.
Going through airport security is usually a fairly mundane procedure, but when you have young children in tow you may need to do a little more planning.

Check out these useful tips to help make getting through airport security a little easier next time you're flying with small children.

Getting through airport security with young kids


1. Get organised

  • Try to be as organised as possible with your suitcase packing and have a plan for your trip before you leave for the airport. That way you’re less likely to be in a panic by the time you reach the airport security area.
  • When you’re packing, organise your bags so that when you go through airport security you know where everything is and can get to things at a moment’s notice.
  • If you are travelling with another adult, decide in advance who will be in charge of folding the stroller, carrying your little one, taking off/on shoes/jackets etc to help the whole security process run more smoothly.

2. Minimise carry-on bags

  • If you can, minimise the number of carry-on bags you have with you.
  • It’s far easier to keep track of one nappy bag and one large carry-on bag then five or six small bags … and the kids.

3. Don’t pack prohibited items

  • Avoid packing your carry-on bags with anything you aren’t supposed to carry onto the plane.
  • With the exception of liquids you can’t avoid (such a baby’s milk), avoid carrying any prohibited items to help minimise the number of questions you will be asked at security.
  • Check out the NZ Aviation Security Service website for more information on prohibited items.

4. Use clear plastic bags

  • Try putting your things in clear, re-sealable plastic bags. Loose items can be easily lost.
  • Keep all the items that you think airport security might question you about together in the 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 etc).
  • Be prepared, you may be asked to open some of the edible liquids and food packs to prove their contents.
  • Check out the NZ Aviation Security Service website for details on what you can and can’t do when it comes to flying with liquids, aerosols and gels.

5. Explain the airport security process

  • Depending on the age of your little ones, try to explain to them beforehand about the airport security process so they know what to expect when they arrive at the airport.
  • Talk to them about walking through the metal detectors on their own and also about the need to move quickly and listen to instructions from the airport security staff.
  • Let them know that they may also be asked to take off their shoes and jackets.
  • If they're old enough, get them to place their own carry-on bags on the conveyor belt and take responsibility for collecting them at the other end.

6. Be early for airport security

  • Once you’ve arrived at the airport, try to go through airport security as early as possible in case you get held up there and to avoid a last minute dash for your flight with the kids in tow.

7. Organise your phones, laptops & entertainment devices

  • Once you’re in the airport security area, be ready to put any phones or laptops you have into trays on the conveyor belt to go through the x-ray machines.
  • Tell airport security about the entertainment devices you have in your carry-on luggage such as a DVD player, i-Pods for the kids etc. They could be mistaken for a laptop or phone, so let security staff know in advance so you don’t get told off for not taking them out of your bag for screening. 

8. Fold up your stroller or pushchair

  • If you have a stroller or pushchair that you plan to gate check, make sure it’s ready to fold before entering the security area if you can.
  • Otherwise if want to keep your little one in their stroller until the last minute, empty any compartments in advance for quick and easy folding as soon as your reach the security conveyor belt.
  • You will need to remove your little one from their stroller as you’re not allowed to push them through the walk through metal detector. They can then either walk or be carried by you through the metal detector.
  • Strollers are usually pushed around the side of the metal detector and physically searched, whilst carrycots and car seats can go on the security conveyor belts and be x-rayed. 

9. Take care of your valuables

  • 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. 

10. 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 travelling with kids.
  • Staff can sometimes be rude, unreasonable and unwilling to compromise. And while you’re coping with that, kids can often be distracted too.
  • If you arrive prepared for this you are far more likely to be able to cope if things get a little out of hand. Or, if it all goes well, you may be in for a pleasant surprise!

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Image source: theguardian

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