getting through aiport security with childrenPacking for air travel and airport security is something that adults are used to. We carry on only a small bag of less than three ounce liquids. We know we cannot carry tweezers or things that could be used as tools.  But children may or may not know the rules to get through airport security. And unless you are careful, the contents of your child’s carry on may unknowingly be considered contraband and taken from them when going through security.

You would not think that the contents of a pencil box, used by elementary school children all over the United States would be a problem on a trip. My daughter for example, packed her entire school pencil box for our one month trip to Italy, so that she could journal and “create” just like she does at home. The teacher in me was thrilled that she would want to take up valuable space in her small carry on backpack with creative tools. It never occurred to me that said pencil box might contain things that would sound the alarms going through airport security.

Leaving the United States, the contents of her bags were scanned and were deemed acceptable, no problem. Leaving Italy, however, on our way home after our long trip, we were asked if she had scissors in her backpack. Scissors? No….oh wait, yes. The pencil box from school. The scissors in question were removed and the security agent laughed that of course a young child might have all the necessary creative tools with them at all times. Except that these scissors had an ever so slightly pointed tip, which makes them, unacceptable. Apologetically the agent said “mi dispiace” and explained that she could not bring them aboard and that they needed to keep them.

You would not think the act of removing a pair of scissors from a child would be a big deal. But in fact, to an artistic child that was already a bit cranky from a 4 am wake up call, the removal of not just any pair of scissors, but her “favorite” scissors was enough to bring on an outpouring of big wet tears.

My only recourse was to try to explain to my saddened that there are some bad people in the world that might, even though we would never do something like that, try to use a simple pair of scissors to harm people. When that didn’t work, I had to promise to go buy a new pair of scissors soon after we get home.


A presto…

Italian by birth, Elena tells the story of living-doing-and growing as a Cancer survivor, freelance writer, teacher, runner & triathlete from her perch in the DC suburbs at Ciao Mom.