Navigating an airport is often a stressful scenario, especially when it comes to going through security. You have to remove your shoes and belt, separate liquids, and take your laptop out of its case. Then you pass through a body scanner or get subjected to an intrusive pat down just to get on an airplane. Throw a baby or toddler into the mix, and things instantly get more stressful. But there is one thing that can make the process easier. Babywearing at the airport makes traveling with little ones much more manageable. Since becoming a mother in 2015, my ErgoBaby 360 Baby Carrier has become my number one travel necessity.

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Wearing your baby at the airport keeps them contained in busy airports while you wait in line at TSA or at baggage claim.

If you haven’t discovered babywearing yet, you’re missing out. Baby carriers are adjustable to fit babies and parents of all sizes. Whether you are petite or in need of a baby carrier for plus size moms, there are a variety of baby carriers on the market that will fit you perfectly. And if you are planning a trip with an infant or toddler, do not travel without a baby carrier, especially if you are traveling alone with your child.

FIND OUR UPDATED LIST OF THE BEST BABY CARRIERS FOR TRAVEL IN 2019 HERE.

Babywearing at the airport: what to know

Although there are numerous light-weight, compact strollers on the market that are great for traveling families, I typically opt for a wrap, sling, or baby carrier because it allows me to be hands free.

Wearing baby through airport security
Babywearing at the airport allows you to remain hands free to check in and handle your luggage.

Can you wear your baby through TSA / Airport Security?

Perhaps the most convenient part about babywearing at the airport is passing through security checkpoints. When you go through security in the United States, you do not have to remove your baby or your soft-bodied baby carrier. The TSA agents will allow you to go through the metal detector while still wearing your baby. After walking through the metal detector, the agent will swab your hands to test for gun powder or explosive residue. It takes all of five extra seconds. Way less time than taking the baby out of the carrier and putting it back on. You also get to avoid the body scanner of which many people aren’t a fan.

Note: If you are using a framed child carrier designed for toddlers or older children, you will have to remove it and send it through the X-Ray machine. If you are considering a framed child carrier, read our full review of the Deuter Kid Comfort child carrier that we use here.

Benefits of babywearing in the airport terminal

Babywearing at the airport not only keeps you hands free to hold your carry-on bag or to scarf down a quick snack, but it keeps others’ hands off of your baby. I get it, people love babies. They’re adorable with their ankle rolls and chubby fingers and tiny toes. But it’s a pet peeve of mine when strangers come up and touch my child without asking. I’ve found people are a lot less likely to do so if your child is snuggled up to your body in the confines of a carrier.

Babywearing also keeps your baby or toddler from putting their hands all over everything. This is especially an issue once your little one becomes mobile. Let’s face it, airports aren’t the cleanest of places. It will make even the most chill parent cringe to watch their tiny human crawl around in the floor where thousands of people have just walked.

Babywearing during flight. Can you wear your baby on the airplane?

Once you are on the plane, you will need to take your baby or toddler out of the carrier during the flight. I’m not sure why they consider this safer, but I don’t argue. It’s an inconvenience, especially when you are flying with an infant who is sound asleep in the carrier. If your baby is sleeping, most flight attendants will make an exception. But I’ve encountered some who strictly follow the rules, so be prepared to take your baby out of the carrier while in flight, even if they are asleep.

Nursing while traveling

I have never been one of those moms who could breastfeed in public without a nursing cover or a blanket draped over me. More power to you if you are one of those moms who doesn’t have a problem with it. I fully support your right to feed your child at any place or any time without having to cover up. Breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful thing. Personally, I was never comfortable pulling my boob out in public to nurse my baby. But as much time as we spent in an airport when my daughter was still nursing, it was bound to happen.

babywearing for travel - mom on plane with a baby
You’ll have to remove your baby during take off and landing, but certain baby carriers like slings and wraps make for a great nursing cover, too.

If you’re planning to travel with a breastfed baby, there will come a time when you have to nurse in the airport, on the plane, or out in public at a crowded tourist attraction. If you’re like me and don’t want the world to see you do so, babywearing comes in quite handy. It takes some practice and the right type of clothing, but I was able to figure out how to nurse my baby without ever taking her out of the carrier, and without strangers even realizing I was doing it.

My experience babywearing at the airport – domestically and internationally

Every country has it’s own security measures and standards. We personally have not had to remove our baby from the carrier when going through security checkpoints in the United States, Canada, Central America, and in some European countries. However, others traveling mamas have not had such luck. I’ve heard from moms who were required to take their baby out of the carrier when traveling in Europe. But overall, even if you have to take your little one out momentarily to pass through a metal detector, it’s still a much easier solution then lugging a stroller around, juggling luggage with a baby on your hip, or chasing a toddler around the terminal. Of course, flying with a baby or a toddler is never easy, but babywearing will definitely help keep you and your little one a little happier while in transit.

Have a question or comment about babywearing at the airport? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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11 thoughts on “Babywearing at the Airport: What you need to know”

  1. Great post!
    I’ve flown with my babies quite a bit. Baby wearing is a must. My understanding is that you’re not allowed to wear baby in the carrier during takeoff and landing. But otherwise once the seatbelt sign is turned off, you should be able to babywear. I have had to put my child in a carrier in the middle of the flight before when nothing else worked to calm her down (and basically do the mom-rock in the aisle for an hour in the middle of a 6 hour flight). And it was fine.

    1. That is so good to know that the flight attendants will typically allow you to babywear on the flight, just not during take off or landing. Thank you for the clarification!

  2. Great information. Thanks! Do they still require you to take your shoes off if you are carrying baby in a carrier?

  3. Can you wear any carrier through TSA? I was planning on wearing my wild bird ring sling but if not I have a lillebabe.

    1. That is a very valid question and one I should address in this post, so thank you for bringing it up. You would have to remove a ring sling before going through TSA or any security checkpoint due to the metal ring in the carrier.

        1. The lightweight stroller will have to be folded down and put through the Xray machine, but yes, you can bring both through TSA. The stroller will likely have to be gate-checked.

  4. My cloth carrier with plastic clips, similar to the one pictured, also has two metal buttons on it the size of blue jean buttons. Do you think they will make me remove it?

  5. Government mandated regulations require infants and children to be taken out of baby carriers and strollers. They can be carried by an adult or, if they can walk, they should walk through the screening point on their own. Strollers and baby carriers must be placed through the x-ray machine with your carry on luggage.
    Australian Airport

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