Six-Year-Old’s TSA Pat-Down: Careful or Crossing the Line?

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Any family traveling with several young children will inevitably be subjected to random checks and extra security measures. It’s Murphy’s Law. But one family says the child screening process can turn invasive and inappropriate.

(See the TSA’s response to the video here.)

After Selena Drexel’s 6-year-old daughter, Anna, was subjected to a pat-down in a New Orleans airport, she and her husband decided to put the video on YouTube. The couple’s request that their daughter be re-scanned rather than patted down was refused and they criticized the process, saying it qualified as groping and contradicted values that parents should be teaching their children. The Drexels told ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday that their daughter started to cry after the process, thinking she had done something wrong.

Upon reviewing the video, the TSA said that the female employee who administered the pat-down followed protocol. NBC reports that the child-screening issue is a tricky one for the TSA because they fear that terrorists may start exploiting children if they learn of a gap in the system. They do say, however, that the TSA is “exploring additional ways to focus its resources and move beyond a one-size-fits all system.”

(More on See a brief history of airport SNAFUs)

Healthland spoke to Dr. Craig S. Fabrikant, the former chief of psychology at the Institute for Child Development at Hackensack University Medical Center, on how parents can help kids cope with TSA security checks. “A little bit of explanation of what’s going to happen before it happens could go a long way,” he says. Head to Healthland for more advice on taking kids through airport security.