Time to Brush Up on the TSA's Tips for Family Fliers

Don't get all stressed out at the airport this summer.

School’s (almost) out for summer, and family vacations are about to take off. And with those vacations come long lines, crowded airports and the stress of lugging two kids, one stroller, a car seat and four carry-ons through airport security.

It’s enough to make a family take a staycation instead.

But it’s not all bad news at airport security. For instance, kids 12 and younger can keep their shoes on. So much easier than trying to wrestle shoes onto your 2-year-old with the strength of an alligator on the floor of the airport. Here are four more:

Infant carriers: Great for getting babies through the airport and using their stroller for luggage transport, which is exactly what I do. But they can’t go through the X-ray machine still in the carrier. The baby needs to be held in the arms of the parent or guardian.

Give your toddler a heads-up that all his or her belongings, even “Lovey,” will have to be screened. If my daughter had a heads-up on this on a recent flight we could have avoided a major scene, but it didn’t occur to me to tell her.

If it fits through the X-ray machine, it should go through the X-ray machine. This means you will be asked to collapse your stroller, which is always fun with 100 impatient people waiting behind you. It’s also problematic when you are traveling alone.

On a flight from Savannah, Georgia, to NYC, I was flying with two kids, one who was still learning to sit up on his own. I had to collapse the stroller and because I had already taken off the carrier (see number 1), I had nowhere to put the baby. His 2-year-old sister wasn’t much help, and neither was the TSA agent, who would not hold the baby even for one moment. So where did I have to sit? On the disgusting airport floor. The lesson, collapse stroller before removing baby from carrier.

Liquids for baby – including breast milk and formula – are allowed, even in large quantities. But they can and will require extra screening. Factor in a minimum of 10 additional minutes for this process. I once left a brand-new 32-ounce bottle of formula at security rather than wait for screening because I was about to miss our flight.