Airport Screening Process Under Fire After Six-Year-Old Gets Pat Down

Wednesday, April 13th 2011, 5:38 pm
By: News On 6

Tara Vreelend, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The pat down of a six-year-old girl at a New Orleans airport has brought attention to the way the Transportation Security Administration conducts the screening of children.

The Transportation Security Administration says the officer followed the proper procedure, but parents at Tulsa International Airport say not my child.

TSA considers kids a low risk population. However, TSA says it's looking at different ways to screen children, to keep parents and kids comfortable, while still keeping a high level of security.

The little girl in the video was patted down by a female TSA officer in New Orleans last week, after she went through the body image scanner.

News On 6 showed the video to parents at Tulsa International Airport to hear what they have to say.

"I don't believe on a child that age. If the child was traumatized by it, I would definitely say it's excessive," Diane Ratliff, from Hawaii, said.

"Obviously I think it's appropriate for them to take the precautions necessary," Brian Tice, of Tulsa, said. "I don't think it needs to be anywhere near this extensive."

The parents admit it's a fine line. They understand the need for security, but they also say kids might not.

"Um, I'm not sure how I feel about that," said Christie Woods, of San Diego. "It's almost like you are treating them like a criminal."

 TSA sent News On 6 a statement saying it's trying to move beyond a one-size fits all system.

"TSA is actively reviewing screening policies and procedures to streamline and improve the experience for low-risk populations such as younger passengers," the statement read.

"I would totally be against someone patting down my kid," said Tiffany, from New York.

"I wouldn't want my kids subjected to it. No," Tice said.

TSA says it will continue to work with parents and aims to have a respectful screening process for the entire family.

TSA's website recommends kids walk through the metal detector separately if they can. The current security procedure says that If you carry your child through the metal detector and the alarm sounds, a TSA officer will have to additionally screen both you and your child.