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Tips For Traveling With Kids: Airport Safety

Mar 5, 2008
More so in this modern age, the airport can be one of the most challenging parts of a journey. With all of the security issues and armed guards in the airport today, young children can very easily become frightened and anxious.

However, there are ways to help your children remain calm and comfortable throughout their experience at the airport, and part of that process is making sure that you are able to pay closer attention to your children during your airport journey. In order to make sure that you can keep your attention focused on your children as you navigate airport security, you need to plan ahead so that everything you will need to present to airport security and the ticket desk, will be close-at-hand and easy-to-reach.

From showing kids how to handle the screening process to helping pack their carry-on bags, you can look forward to a fun experience at the airport, when you have made the right preparations. Here are some simple ways to prepare for the airport when traveling with kids:

1.Arrive to the airport as early as possible. When you find yourself rushing to the airport or anywhere else, important items are frequently left behind. A decade ago, we could get through airport security, even if we left our driver's license at home. But these days, a missing driver's license could very well mean that you will not get into the airport, let alone get on your airplane. A document organizer can help you keep your identification and plane tickets all in one place. If you are traveling out of the country with your child(ren), don't forget their passports. Also if only one parent is traveling internationally, it's best to have a letter of permission from the other parent acknowledging that you are allowed to take the child(ren) out of the country. Plan to arrive at least two hours before your flight, so you can get your bags checked, have enough time to visit the restroom, get through security, and to be relaxed and comfortable as you board the airplane.

2.Locate restrooms close to your gate. You can almost always expect some last-minute trips to the restroom, especially with children in tow, so call the airport ahead of time to find out where restrooms are located in the area of the airport you plan on using. Planning your route - even at the airport terminal - will help you maximize your time, and avoid unnecessary delays.

3.Practice the airport screening process at home. Some kids may be alarmed or scared by the airport screening process, but you can help them become more comfortable by practicing at home. Just let them know what to expect, and walk them through the steps, so they are not overwhelmed at the last minute. Check your airline's website for the latest security requirements. It will detail out what items can and cannot be taken on board as carry-on luggage and what must be checked through to your destination.

4.Keep snacks on hand. You may need to take a break during your airport travels, and you won't want to waste time standing in line at the food court or concessions stands if you're on a tight schedule. Pack a few snacks that the kids will enjoy, but be prepared to discard them before entering the last gates for your flight, if necessary.

5.Help the kids pack their backpacks and carry-on luggage. You want to avoid last-minute delays at the X-ray machine as much as possible, so make sure your kids aren't sneaking in extra items at the last minute. Let them know that the bags will be checked with the X-ray machine as you enter the gates, and help them pack the bags carefully to comply with all security guidelines.

6.Point out the security officers when you arrive. Make sure your kids know who to ask, if they get lost. This is especially important for larger families traveling together; explain that security officers will be wearing a particular uniform, and standing by the gates and entryways at the airport. Your kids should be prepared to talk to a security officer if they drift away from your traveling group by mistake.

7.Make sure kids are dressed for traveling. Uncomfortable clothing can make it very difficult to travel without stress, so make sure everyone is wearing clothing that is comfortable and clothing that can be removed easily if necessary. Layers work best for traveling, especially when you're crossing climates and time zones. Pack at least one extra set of clothes with the carry-on luggage for very young kids, who may be at risk for spilling something or soiling their clothes.

8.Give older kids a map of the airport. If you are traveling with both young kids and teens, consider partnering everyone up and giving the oldest a map. This can help everyone navigate back to the right area, in case they get lost, and it will make it much easier to keep everyone on schedule.

9.Instruct kids not to talk to strangers. The airport is a crowded, busy place, so it's essential that kids practice safety first. Make sure they know not to talk to strangers or even other kids as you move around the airport, and keep them as close to you as possible.

When you're traveling with young children, safety is always a top priority. Traveling with kids is a fun and exciting time for the whole family, but it does require some planning and organization to make sure everything runs smoothly. Preparing young children with what to expect, and how to handle emergencies is also a great way to help them build the skills they need for traveling safely; just plan ahead with any or all of these travel tips for a fun adventure the whole family can enjoy!
About the Author
April Aguren is the owner of ChildToGo.com, a kids' travel accessory website. She has traveled extensively as a marketing event manager for work and with her family for fun. She is also the author of the ebook, "Wedding Bells: an eguide to planning your wedding." For more information on travel accessory gear for your baby, toddler or preschooler, see her site at www.childtogo.com.
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