If you’re traveling with a baby, you may be wondering if you can wear your baby carrier through airport security.
The good news is that TSA guidelines allow baby carriers, but there are some caveats to this that we will discuss in more detail in this article.
Can I Wear A Baby Carrier Through Airport Security
You can wear a baby carrier through airport security as long the child is visible and the carrier does not contain any prohibited items.
You must be prepared to undertake additional screening, and the carrier design is compliant with carry on airline policies.
The official TSA policy encourages parents to remove infants and children from their carriers and carry them in arms through the walk-through metal detector.
However, infants can be carried in a carrier or sling through the walk-through metal detector but may be subject to additional screening.
This policy gives you enough leeway to be able to choose for yourself but you need to be prepared for the additional swabbing and security screening if you choose to keep you child in the baby carrier.
The screening is non-intrusive and generally easier than it sounds as long as you are patient and have a happy baby.
Removing Your Child From the Baby Carrier
If you prefer to avoid the extra screening you can remove your child from the baby carrier and carry them through the metal detector.
The carrier can then be placed through the x-ray machine and screened like regular carry-on luggage.
Any time you save from avoiding the extra checks you will likely lose by having to put the carrier back on and securing your child in place. So it is a less convenient option.
Baby Carrier Designs You Can Wear Through Airport Security
You can wear most types of baby carriers through the security checkpoint as described above with the exception of a hard-framed backpack carrier. They are too big and will not comply with maximum size restrictions.
Any of the following categories of baby carrier will be fine to wear through security:
- Soft-structured carrier (recommended)
- Hipseat carrier
- Baby wrap
- Ring sling
- Mei Tai
The most suitable baby carriers for traveling will have no metal built into the design. This will trigger the metal detector and will require additional screening that you could avoid with another carrier.
Ring slings are problematic if the ring element is metal-based.
Do All American Airports Have The Same Policy
All American airports uphold the same TSA policies for traveling with children.
These are federal regulations set by an agency that is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Do Baby Carrier Rules Vary Outside of the USA?
Baby carrier rules will vary at airports outside of the USA. However, you will never find a restriction that prevents the use of a baby carrier inside the airport or on a plane.
It is only the security checkpoint where rules may vary and you will need to be prepared to take your child out of the carrier if asked.
Is It Worth Wearing a Baby Carrier Through Security?
The benefits of wearing your baby carrier in the airport far outweigh any inconvenience that you may experience getting through the security checkpoint – which always kind of sucks anyway.
Your carrier will allow you to:
- Navigate the crowd easier.
- Keep your baby calm in unfamiliar surroundings.
- Easy to breastfeed in the carrier.
- Keep your hands free to deal with plane tickets and passports!
- Move faster if you need to get to a gate quickly.
An added benefit is that in some airports you may be given priority treatment if you have a young baby, and you are much easier to spot as a parent if you are wearing a carrier.
The baby carrier will also not add to your carry-on luggage limits which is a plus. Especially when dealing with discount airlines that can be very touchy about weight limits.
The best thing you can do is decide before you arrive at the airport if you plan to wear your baby carrier through security or not. If it is all planned and deliberate then you will not get overwhelmed in the moment.
Plus you can also make sure there is nothing hidden in those baby carrier pockets that could attract extra attention from the security personnel.