Last Updated on February 2, 2022
Wearing your baby with a sling, baby wrap, or baby carrier obviously helps to keep your hands free.
Free hands can be especially useful when going through the airport security screening process since you need to organise your carry-on luggage, the diaper bag, the baby food, the stuffed animal, and anything else you are bringing along. It’s a stressful process even without a baby!
But can you wear your baby when going through the airport security checkpoint? Or do you need to remove your baby from the carrier when walking through the metal detector?
Let’s find out.
Baby Carrier Airport Security Rules
The airport security checks carried out by TSA agents are about two things. Weapons and liquids. It’s weapons or liquids that the TSA is searching for at the security gate.
A framed child carrier for older kids or a car seat or booster seat always needs to go through the x-ray machine.
Soft-structured carriers or slings for babies are treated just like clothing, but keep in mind that passengers are often advised to remove bulky clothing like jackets or hoodies at the checkpoint.
I found the following quote on the TSA website:
Infants may be carried in a sling through the walk-through metal detector but may be subject to additional screening.Transportation Security Administration
And I also checked on Twitter to see if I could find any more info:
Audra asked the TSA if she would need to take her baby son out of a wearable carrier:
The TSA replied:
If a baby is carried through the metal detector in a sling, additional screening might be required.@ASKTSA on Twitter
Bethany also asked if she was able to go through security with her baby strapped to her in a carrier:
The TSA responded:
Infants and small children may be carried through the metal detector, but if the alarm sounds, the officer will have to conduct additional screening on both the adult passenger and the child. If a baby is carried through the metal detector in a sling, additional screening may be required even if there is not an alarm.@AskTSA on Twitter
So what does additional screening mean? It’s a bit like if you trigger the alarm because of some jewelry.
If your baby carrier has any metal rings or anything metal it might trigger the metal detector. If the alarm is sounded the TSA officer will need to carry out additional screening and that could well include a pat down search.
Here’s the issue.
While the x-ray machine can see large quantities of liquids the walk-through metal detector can’t. Yes it would ping if someone tried to pass through with a knife or a gun but the metal detector doesn’t detect liquids.
Unfortunately we live in a world where it’s not impossible that someone would use a baby and a baby carrier to try to sneak flammable liquids on to a flight with bad intentions.
The TSA officers at the security gate can’t risk that a passenger might sneak flammable liquids through airport security by using a baby carrier.
So even if you don’t trigger the alarm wearing a baby carrier through the checkpoint might mean you get a pat down search to check you have nothing concealed.
Check yourself in a mirror. Does it look like you could have any liquids larger than 3.4 oz concealed anywhere?
When you wear a baby through security your overall appearance including they bulkiness of your clothes and the thickness of any fabrics will influence how likely the TSA are to want to do a pat down. Wearing a baby increases the chances, so does wearing a bulky sweater or baggy pants.
So are you planning on wearing a just t-shirt and lightweight sling and baby? Or will you be wearing a more bulky outfit including a padded sling where liquids could be concealed. This is what the TSA is concerned about.
If it looks like you could by carrying concealed liquids then the TSA might want to carry out additional screening and that might involve a physical pat down.
You are permitted to wear your baby using baby carriers while going through airport security.
However, doing so will increase the chances that you might be subject to additional screening. This can involve a pat down screening from the TSA officer and some travelers might find this process invasive and uncomfortable.
You can reduce the chance of delays or pat downs by removing your baby from the carrier when going through the metal detector.
Pay attention to your overall dress. Bulky padded clothing including baby padded baby carriers will increase your chances of being stopped.
And remember, whatever you do, don’t put your baby in a screening bin and send them through the x-ray machine!