I've been travelling recently and stuck in airports. Not fun! Aside from all the people watching I've done to pass the time, I've observed quite a few of the TSA pat-downs. I actually felt sorry for the TSA agents doing the patting, because, you know, everybody has things about what they do that they don't like and they are just doing their job, right? Still, I was mad about the 3-year-old who had an aggressive pat-down and the breastfeeding mom whose breast milk was treated as if it was a toxic substance.
And then I heard about the TSA patting down a mother and her 8-month-old twins at New York's LaGuardia Airport.
The woman's father recently wrote an Op Ed, which appeared in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, saying:
My daughter and her 8-month-old twins were put through a TSA search at LaGuardia Airport. She was compelled to have her twins separated from each other, forced to stretch their little arms out, lean forward in their carriages, and were patted down by a 6-foot-2-inch, intimidating man. I don't know whether we are all safer because the infants were searched, but I suspect not.
So I did a little research of my own. According to the TSA:
Transportation Security Officers will work with parents to resolve any alarms at the checkpoint. If required, a child may receive a modified pat-down. Parents are encouraged to ensure their children have taken all items out of their pockets as they go through the security checkpoint.
Now I can understand the need to screen a mother, but the babies? What, did they have some spare change in their pockets? Contraband stashed in their diapers? I would even be willing to accept a supervised pat-down of the car seat, but to pat down the babies themselves? I just don't get it.
That poor mother! I can imagine that whole experience had to have been really stressful for everyone involved. It's hard enough to travel through airports with little children, much less having to watch your babies being handled by airport screeners. I hope she had a really good time when she got to wherever she was going!
Have you ever heard of a baby receiving a pat-down? Would you protest if someone tried to pat down your baby at an airport?
Image via UggBoy/Flickr