TSA Guidelines for Flying with Children

The primary concern of parents is the safety of their children while traveling. Traveling by air can offer its own unique concerns since the parent is not in the driver’s seat. If you plan on flying with your little ones, here are some guidelines offered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The easiest way to travel – whether by air, bus, train or car – is to know the rules and regulations before you plan your trip.

Standing in the airport is not the time to familiarize yourself with them. Save yourself and your kids a lot of trouble and stress by being prepared. Read on to find out most of what you need to know.

TSA Guidelines for Flying with Children

General Information

The top thing to remember when traveling with a kid is to carry your proof of relationship with them. You should also check your child thoroughly before entering the premises in case the little one has a sharp item.

Heightened security measures have led to longer lines at the airport. It is a good idea to arrive at least two hours before your scheduled time of departure. This allows enough time to pass the security screening and make it to your gate at a comfortable pace without worrying about long lines.

Children are required to undergo the safety checkpoints. For children under 12 years, the requirement to remove shoes is waived. They can keep them on. Parents are allowed to stay with their children as they pass through all security areas. Wands can be employed if needed. And, TSA officers will be patient with kids who are agitated by security.

Traveling with children can require a lot of extra carry-on baggage. This includes child safety seats (aircraft approved of course), toys, blankets and strollers. All of these items need to be loaded on the conveyer belt for inspection. Any items that can’t pass through the machine can also be visually inspected by the officers. Babies can be carried by their parents through the metal detector. They are not allowed to stay in their baby seats.

Additionally, infant formula, breast milk and baby food are not subject to the three-ounce rule for liquids. The bottles will have to be visually inspected before you board the plane, however.

Children with Disabilities

The primary guideline TSA has set for disabled children is that they will not be removed from their wheelchairs, scooters, or other assistive devices. You can also carry your kid through the screener for easy checking if you wish so.

Disabilities should not prevent your child from being able to travel by air. In preparation for that, the TSA has guidelines specifically for these children.

To be sure that the security checks run smoothly, inform your airline that you will be traveling with a child that has a need for additional appliances (wheelchair, motorized scooter, braces, etc.). Your child will not be asked to leave their wheelchair, but will be patted down (in your presence) while seated.

For instances when there is one parent with a disabled child, ask a safety officer to help you with your carry-on baggage to facilitate quicker movement through the security checkpoint.


When traveling with children, know the facts before you travel. Talk to your kids to prepare them for the security checkpoints.

TSA Guidelines for Flying with Children

What identification do children need to fly on a plane?

Although minors are not required to show IDs when flying, they will need to show a valid passport when traveling internationally. Proof of age is required for infants under 2 years old.

Does a child need TSA PreCheck?

A child does not need a TSA PreCheck when boarding a flight. However, having one can ease the screening process as your kid will not have to remove shoes, belts, and gaming consoles when traveling with a TSA PreCheck.

Do kids need to apply for TSA PreCheck? Children 12 and under may not wear shoes, light jackets, and headwear during screening.

Do I need to bring my child birth certificate when flying international?

citizens of the US do not need to have a birth certificate to travel internationally. However, they can still obtain a report of birth in their home country when they become babies. To enter a US state or territory, an older age group must have a valid photo ID.

What do you need to fly with a child that is not yours?

If a child is not yours, bring a signed and notarized consent form from the parent or legal guardian. When traveling with someone else’s child, the child will need to have a signed document that states their legal guardian’s name. This will allow them to travel without their parents.

Can my husband go through TSA PreCheck with me?

If a traveler has the necessary credentials to use the TSA PreCheck, then the other passengers in the group may do so. However, after the new legislation becomes law, all passengers must have their own pass. You’ll need a valid photo ID and a proof of citizenship or immigration documentation to enter the US.

Can I take snacks for my toddler on a plane?

Since these are items that can be transported in checked luggage, they’re allowed to pass through security checkpoints as long as they’re packed in solid food items. If you have a child or an infant, you can also bring along these items in addition to your carry-on bag.

Can you use your Social Security card to get on a plane?

All forms of identification are required to enter a secure location. These include a school ID, Social Security card, or birth certificate. In most countries, the child’s birth certificate and the biological parent’s consent form are required documents to get in order.

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