Prepare Kids For Airport Security

Prepare Kids For Airport Security

Preparation Can Alleviate Potential Anxiety

Cara Liu

UPDATED: 7:51 am MST November 23, 2010

PHOENIX — For parents concerned about taking children through security checkpoints, child psychologist Christopher Nicholls said there are a number of measures parents can implement to make holiday travel easier.”The take-home message is children look to their parents to see how they should act. So if parents are calm and prepared, and go through procedures while explaining to the children what’s going on, the children will say, ‘This is just the way it is. Everything is fine,’ ” said Nicholls.

A recent YouTube video showing a young, shirtless boy undergoing a pat-down at Salt Lake City’s airport has sparked the latest round of criticism about airport security searches. According to Luke Tait, the student who took the video, the boy seemed nervous about the pat-down, and then his father took off the child’s shirt out of frustration to speed things up.That video has renewed the debate over whether some searches by the Transportation Security Administration cross the line.Nicholls said teaching kids what to expect ahead of time is one of the best ways to avoid problems.“I think parents forget that kids haven’t been exposed to a lot of things before, so giving them a trial run, giving them exposure and explaining it ahead of time (can help),” said Nicholls.

“That includes all aspects of travel — how you’re going to deal with turbulence if you’re taking off or landing.”As for the issue of privacy if you or your child is selected for an “enhanced” pat-down, Nicholls said it can be explained much the same way you would explain a visit to your pediatrician.”Doctors will examine you and touch you in places we ordinarily wouldn’t be touched but that’s OK –that’s their job. Mom and dad are still going to be there to make sure nothing bad happens to them,” said Nicholls.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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