No More Pat-Downs for Kids, TSA Says
It's the most dreaded part of the airport process: taking off your shoes, getting a pat-down, and walking through the metal detector or x-ray machine. It's an even bigger hassle when you are traveling with children.
"It's something we as travelers would consider before making a trip. In some cases it's just not worth it, traveling with children," said Matt Lezin, a traveler at LAX.
Within the next months, children 12 years old and younger will no longer have to remove their shoes or be pat-down at airport security checkpoints, Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary told Congress.
"There will always be some unpredictability built into the system, and there will always be random checks even for groups that we are looking at differently, such as children," she said.
Ever since the al-Qaida bomb threat in a shoe, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) included removing shoes as a safety checkpoint which became a common complaint among travelers.
The TSA will find new ways to screen children without aggressive pat-downs and shoe checks after many people complained over its lack of common sense in checking all travelers in the same way. After the government had formulated stronger pat-downs including breast areas and genitals, controversey arose over violation issues.
When asked if the new security changes were better, "I do think it's really a lot better. She's three. I don't see why she needs to be padded down and why she needs to take her shoes off. I think it's excessive. I know it's security, but a three year old doesn't need to be padded down," said Christine Flores, a traveler at LAX.
Earlier this year, TSA Administrator John Pistole restricted the usage in pat-downs and called for new ways in which screeners could avoid them.
According to the TSA, children will only have to walk through metal detectors and imaging machines. If there is any suspicion, children will have to pass through the machines multiple times to give screeners a better identification and clearer image of the suspicious object.
"TSA anticipates these changes, which will begin rolling out in select airpoart this week, will continue to strengthen and streamline the security screening process for travelers," said agency spokesman, Greg Soule.