The Washington Post

TSA changes rules on child shoe removal, pat downs

Airline passengers go through the Transportation Security Administration security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. (Erik S. Lesser/AP)

In a move that is sure to please many parents, the Transportation Security Administration will no longer ask children under 12 to remove their shoes at airport security checkpoints and will take steps to avoid invasive pat-downs.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the changes to Congress on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports.

To avoid pat-downs on kids, screeners will send them through detectors and image machines multiple times and use hand swabs to check for traces of explosives, the AP reports.

Still, some children may be required to randomly undergo these checks. “There will always be some unpredictability built into the system,” Napolitano said.

The move comes after several incidents of children being screened in a way that outraged parents and members of the public. Selena and Todd Drexel posted a video of their 6-year-old being frisked in areas they felt were not appropriate.

Similar incidents involving an infant, as well as a young boy who was asked to remove his shirt, were reported.

Pat-downs on the elderly and ill have sparked similar outrage. In June, Lena Reppert said her 95-year-old mother was asked to remove her diaper. The TSA denied the woman was “required” to remove it.


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