Parents and TSA discuss tips for traveling with children

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Thinking about going through airport security can be daunting, and even more so if you've got little ones in tow.

But TSA officials say there are rules and exceptions for traveling with kids that aim to make the whole process faster and easier.

For example, children’s shoes don't have to come off during screenings the way adults’ do, and your child can stay with you the whole time. It’s also easy for passengers to take a stroller through security.

“With the car seat, they just screen that through the belt, and they manually check the stroller, so I didn't have to collapse it,” Sabrina Pattillo, a traveling parent, said.

Liquids are a big no-go when it comes to carry-on baggage, but in some cases liquids for children are exempt.

“We can bring our breast milk with us to travel, powder formula, the liquid we need to mix the bottles, so there wasn't going to be a constraint of how much I can bring with me,” Pattillo said. “I could feed him for a longer trip, which is nice to know."

Hazel Tine, a TSA Supervisor, explains: “We just have to screen them. And how we do that is we use the bottle liquid scanner. It uses lightweight technology to go ahead and screen the liquids. So we're just making sure that nothing dangerous or harmful is getting on the plane."

Tine said parents should just make sure any formula they have with them is taken out of the bag and set aside in a separate bin to help speed up the process.

“That's a really nice convenience for children, and it's nice for everyone else on the plane, so we don't have screaming toddlers when we take off,” Crystal Young-Otterstrom, a parent, said.

TSA Spokesperson Lorie Dankers said when it comes to food for other family members, the important distinction is liquid vs solid.

“A lot people are confused about whether or not they can bring foods through the checkpoint,” she said. “Any type of solid thing, cereal, sandwiches, cookies, all of those are allowed. Those are not a liquid. They are not something that we are concerned with."

So what's the message these travelers have for other parents looking to take their kids on a plane?

“Don't be afraid, pack smart, you don't need to take everything on the plane to survive a flight with a kid,” Young-Otterstrom said.

Pattillo agreed.

“I think it's easier than you think it'll be,” she said. “They are willing to help you get your stuff through and make special accommodations for babies, so it's worth being able to take your trip."