Children are born to move. They have tons of energy and need an outlet to burn it up, so it can be tough to get them to be still and listen. It is even more difficult for children who have special needs or disabilities to be confined to an area.
Most large airports have a designated lane for passengers with a disability. It normally is marked with a universal handicap symbol (blue placard). If you have a child with a disability, you may utilize this lane if it is available at your airport. You can also use the kid friendly lanes. If you don't see a blue placard right away, then tell the boarding pass/identification checker that you will need to use a lane designated for children with a disability, and he or she will direct you.
Some smaller airports may not have an extra lane; therefore, you may be directed to a lane for secondary screening. If you are not selected for secondary screening, you shouldn't have to wait behind those passengers who are. A screener should screen you first. If this does not happen, ask to speak with a supervisor. I suggest you call the airport ahead of time and ask if security checkpoint has a person with disabilities lane available.
If your child is in a wheelchair, expect the screener to ask you if the child can walk through the metal detector. This question will be asked for the sole reason to prevent the child from having to go through secondary screening which includes the dreaded hand-wanding or pat-down. If your child cannot walk, screeners are trained to screen him or her either by a pat-down with the child seated in the wheelchair or a hand-wanding if he or she can stand. It is completely up to you, the parent, how you want your child to be screened.
The same guidelines apply to children as they do for adults for prosthetic devices, oxygen, casts, braces or any medical condition or device. If your doctor tells you that your medical device cannot go through the x-ray or you cannot walk through the metal detector, then don't. Have your medical device hand-checked and ask for a pat-down.
The screeners, like the parent, want what is best for the child during the screening process. Screeners want a positive experience for everyone and do their best to get you on your way.
1. Go directly to the boarding pass/ID checker, bypassing the line. You do not have to wait in line.
2. Stay together. An adult always needs to be present during screening if the child is a minor.
3. Ask the screener to change their gloves.
4. Ask for a chair at any time if your child needs one during the screening process.
5. Ask for a private screening if you don't want the screening to be conducted in public.
6. If your child cannot or does not want to walk through the metal detector, then ask for a hand-wanding or pat-down.
7. If your child is in a wheelchair, he or she can be screened sitting down.
8. Tell the screener what your child's physical capabilities and limitations are.
9. You should always have a clear view of all carry-on baggage.
10. Parents should assist if they feel it's necessary after they have been screened.
11. Parents should communicate the best way to screen their children.
12. The screener or porter should assist you by placing your carry-ons on the x-ray belt.
13. The screener should reunite you with your carry-ons and any medical devices once they have been screened.
14. The screener will not move or lift your child from his or her medical device.
15. Call the airlines ahead of time and make arrangements for a porter to assist you and for any medical aids or devices you need for your trip.
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Natalia Ippolito, a former airport screener and author of: I MIGHT AS WELL BE NAKED: How to Survive Airport Screening With Your Clothes On.
Receive her FREE Tip of The Week, Sample Chapter Ultimate Packing List or Unknown Violations and Fines Report at www.airportbook.com
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