TSA Changes Shoe, Pat-Down Rules for Kids

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The Transportation Security Administration will introduce a new pat-down procedure for children under 12, says Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

In addition, children will not be required to take their shoes off when passing through airport security. Napolitano says that passengers can expect to see these changes introduced over the next few months.

These changes, announced during a Senate meeting on Tuesday, were not unexpected. Napolitano had hinted last week in an interview with Politico that policy alterations were forthcoming.

“We are moving towards an intelligence and risk-based approach to how we screen,” she told Politico. “I think one of the first things you will see over time is the ability to keep your shoes on.”

Napolitano did not offer any specifics in the Senate meeting as to what other changes may be instituted.

Though heightened security measures were introduced largely as a result of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, TSA has seen its fair share of backlash from passengers believing that some of its practices cross the line.

The pat-down policy, introduced back in October 2010 as an alternative to the equally controversial full body scan, has been a popular subject of public scrutiny. TSA was even forced to take to its blog to defend itself back in May after a tweeted a picture of a baby receiving a pat-down in a Kansas City airport. The picture went viral almost immediately and several websites ran it as “TSA Looking for Poop Bombs?”

The TSA also took to its blog in May after a 6-year-old was spotted getting a pat-down in Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

The frequent onslaught of travelers’ complaints lead the TSA to announce in July that it was testing a pre-screening program that could potentially lead to less time at airport checkpoints, though it did not specify what current screening measures may be eliminated.

Other policies introduced post-9/11 include changes to what can and cannot be taken on board a plane in a carry-on bag, with extra attention being placed on liquids, including formula for infants.

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