The TSA and your children

I think this is a fascinating post on kids and the whole TSA controversy (scanners, pat-downs, etc.):

http://www.deliciousbaby.com/journal/2010/nov/18/tsa-pat-downs-how-talk-your-kids/

I point out the post for two reasons:

1. If you have to prep a little kid for a pat down, this woman is right on the mark about how to do it. Pitch perfect.

2. The discussion in the comments section is REALLY interesting as well. At the time that I am writing about this, the guest blogger who wrote the post is the final commenter, and she is, again, right on target. Very young children are not necessarily at a stage in their moral development where they will fully comprehend civil rights issues. They are on the road, but not entirely there. And parents need to take this into account when they are prepping children for the possibility of this procedure.

I have to admit that I am personally relieved that I don’t have to fly for awhile, though. I don’t like this development at all. I understand that we need to be safe. And I understand that there will always be some work-around for people who want to do bad things. But it seems there might be some better solutions that what we have going on here.

I’m hoping that by the time I have to fly again, this will be sorted out a bit, but some of my current concerns:

Flying with small children, obviously. Everything from some of the unresolved medical issues to how exactly would a woman with an infant get the infant through a scanner and get the infant to HOLD STILL??? (For instance, it’s not out of character for Erik and I to travel on separate flights, me with kids, since he gets less vacation time. So do you hand a squirmy baby over to someone else in the line? My understanding is you have to be still for the scanner to work. Clearly, it was not designed to work for infants.

I’ve read a few things that suggest people who are high risks for skin cancer shouldn’t go through. (Hello: fair complexion, hair and moles!) And seriously, I’m not just being reactionary here: I never threw out all my nalgene bottles that might be poisoning me slowly with BPA because I figure something will kill me eventually.

The obvious inconsistency of TSA. And here, I’ll mention a POSITIVE TSA story to illustrate this: a few years ago, departing from a small airport, we actually had TSA agents find and then turn a blind eye to 3 juice boxes we’d forgotten to take out of Zora’s carry-on. As in, they found them, and they acknowledged they found them, and then they let us through (I think, officially, by citing the rules about infants and bottles…Zora was well beyond infant.) At any other airport, this could have turned into a major crisis: I say this having had my knitting needles confiscated by TSA at other airports (even well after the knitting needle ban was lifted).

How would one fly responsibly with a large church youth group? Similar to my feelings about small children, as a pastor, I have some mama-bear tendencies toward teenagers whose parents have placed them into me care. Groping does not fit with this. And the nearly-nude computer image doesn’t thrill me either. I also think, given that I might myself be tempted to opt out of the scan, that no one should be under pressure from the group to get the scan. So, if I have a kid who wants to opt out of a scanner, then I think the group would have to tolerant of the extra time it would take to have them “patted”. And, I’m sorry, but teenagers are not always people who are real comfortable with their bodies, let alone strangers touching them. So, would one then take the group to airport super-extra early? Wouldn’t trip planning suddenly have to include prepping everyone to be tolerant of each other’s choices, and prepping those who are going to opt out in how to be as “nice” to the TSA as possible in order not to hold up the group?

I’d be especially interested to read comments on traveling with kids (your own; youth groups) and groups here. Please know that if comments devolve into sniping about the policy, I’ll probably delete them.

Leave a Reply

You can use these XHTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> .