Airport Baby Pat-Down Out of Line? TSA Says Agents Followed Procedure in Kansas City
Child's play: Has airport security finally gone too far?
May 11, 2011— -- A picture showing a baby reportedly receiving a pat-down by airport security has ignited a debate over whether screening procedures have gone too far.
The photo tweeted by Rev. Jacob Jester was taken at the Kansas City International airport Saturday after he cleared security.
The photo shows an infant – only a few months old -- being held up by a woman and searched by two Transportation Security Administration agents. The family involved has not been identified.
"Just saw #tsa agents patting down a little baby at @KCIAirport Pretty sure that's extreme," Jester tweeted.
The baby's stroller set off an alarm during a screening for explosives, according to the TSA.
Although the Kansas City airport uses screening agents from FirstLine Transportation Security, a company contracted by the TSA, they still adhere to TSA guidelines.
The TSA released the following statement in response to the screening:
"TSA has reviewed the screening of this family and determined that the officers involved followed proper current screening procedures. Per protocol, officers had to conduct additional screening on the family after the child's stroller alarmed during explosives screening. The family was very cooperative and the process was completed without incident."
The TSA said that children are not excluded from security screenings and that the agency is reviewing ways to improve its procedures for "low-risk populations, such as younger passengers."
Travelers had varying opinions on the actions taken at the airport.
Better safe than sorry…," passenger Richard Kolie told Kansas City ABC News affiliate KMBC . "Parents were cooperative and it didn't seem to bother them. There are a lot of crazies in the world and you never know what's going to happen."
"It did seem kind of intrusive but in this day and time and what's going on around the world I can understand," Pamela Beaty told KMBC. "On another side, if that was my baby, I'm not sure if I could handle it."
Still, Jester felt the pat-down went too far.
"An 8-month-old doesn't pose a threat to airplane or national security. I am grateful for TSA's willingness and desire to protect, but I believe in this instance that was extreme," Jester told the Kansas City Star.