This is going to be one of those posts, where some of you mamas get to the end and say: “Well, obviously that’s how you get through security at the airport with a baby and all your shit. Do you think we’re stupid?” But as a new mom who was planning to fly with her not even 3 month old for the first time alone I can tell you that I agonized for far too long over how I would maneuver myself, my baby, our carseat, the stroller, a diaper bag, and my purse through security without having a heart attack, a mental breakdown, or a baby meltdown. I felt the same complete fear over getting down the jet bridge and onto the plane with all of the same things. Solo.
So I’m here to tell you step-by-step how I get through security (quickly and easily and without any mama or baby or angry stranger breakdowns) when I’m flying with a baby, carseat, stroller, and carry ons. All of this assumes you’re traveling with a little baby, and planning to gate check your carseat and stroller like we’ve done in the past.
It’s really quite easy, and after you’ve done it one time you’ll feel like a pro. I promise. The main reason for spelling this out so literally is because you want to avoid taking your baby out of the carseat too early… Think about it, once you’re holding your baby, it makes it a whole heck of a lot harder to fold a stroller, lift anything up onto the security belt, or unzip and take out liquids. Especially when flying alone.
Things To Do Before Going Through Security with a Baby, Carseat and Stroller
Baby is in the infant carseat, and the infant carseat is snapped into your lightweight, easy to fold frame style stroller. Your new backpack style diaper bag is on your back, and you’re wearing your cross shoulder purse.
Before you get in line at security, make sure your boarding pass (or phone) and ID are in your sweater pocket, so you can easily grab them when it’s your turn, without having to dig through any bags.
If you don’t have TSA pre-check (you should do it!), get your liquids bag out of your diaper bag, and put it in the open somewhere. Your stroller’s underneath basket is perfect.
Take off anything metal, or items that you’ll likely have to take off, such as a jacket, or large scarf.
The main point here is to avoid having to take out anything once it’s your turn at the security check point. You’ll already have enough stuff to deal with, you don’t want anything to slow you down.
Once you present your ID and boarding pass, you’re up.
The Fastest Way to Get Through Security with a Baby, Carseat and Stroller
- With the baby still in the carseat, and the carseat still clicked into the stroller, put your diaper bag, carry on purse, liquids, and any bulky apparel/shoes onto the belt.
- These items are easy to push along with one hand later if you need to help move them towards the checkpoint, and your baby is happily sitting in the carseat.
- Unclick the baby’s carseat from the stroller and place the carseat on the ground where you’re standing.
- Fold the stroller while the baby still in the carseat.
- Try to get the security person’s attention, and ask if the stroller should go through on the belt. Our lightweight stroller fits easily once folded, so we’ve always thrown the folded stroller onto the belt with our other belongings, but for some larger strollers I’ve seen a security person carry it through the detector.
- If you know your stroller will fit, place it on the table/belt now.
- Keep your baby in the carseat until you are next in line!
- Once you are just about ready to walk through the security checkpoint, take your baby out of the carseat and while holding the baby safely in one arm, place the carseat on the belt.
- The point here is to not pick up your baby until ALL of your items are on the belt and pushed forward as far as necessary. This way, you have two hands to do everything you need to do quickly and efficiently without holding up the line or making things harder on yourself.
- You’ll now walk through while holding baby.
- FYI I’ve been told if you are wearing the baby in a wrap or carrier, you’ll have to take the baby out when walking through security.
Now that you’ve read this, you’re probably thinking of course, yes, that sounds easy. But I think it’s important to mentally envision each step of this process, before you get to security for the first time, especially when traveling alone. You really do NOT want to take your baby out first, and then be holding up the line as you try to take of your jacket, and unzip your diaper bag and take out your liquids bag and fold your stroller one handed and lift your stroller onto the belt and then realize you need to take off your shoes… you get the point, right?
Order of operations matters here friends, and this order has worked like a charm for us on three different occasions now.
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