Some Parents Concerned About Kid Pat-Downs At Airports

DFW AIRPORT (CBSDFW.COM) – So far, there have been government hearings, statements from Texas Congress members and outrage from some travelers on the airport security issue of screenings and pat-downs.

The latest concern involves children and if they’re being required to undergo the physical searches that many deem too intrusive, even for adults.

Parents at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport offered their own perspective on the body issue for kids.

Currently, children will be searched if they don’t pass metal detection screening.

A full body security-imaging scan awaited Patti Whynot, her husband Steve, and their six-year-old daughter Maddie at DFW Airport.

If the Collin County family had declined to go through the scanners they would’ve faced the now controversial physical pat down; a manual body search that include the frisking of discreet parts of the anatomy.

The Whynot’s feel that either search would have been fine for them and their child. “We’re comfortable with anything for safety,” said Patti Whynot. “We want a safe flight and we’re willing to do our part.”

Steve Whynot said, “I agree with my wife. It’s all about a safe and secure flight.”

But that sentiment isn’t universal.

Lucy Khalife’s daughter, Sandra, experienced a pat down. The three- year-old didn’t pass a metal detector test, so screeners, according to mom, put the child through the hands-on physical search.

“That’s too much,” Khalife said frustrated. “For kids, that’s too much. For adults, we understand you know.”

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) authorities point to passenger safety and security as the primary purpose for the image screening, and the alternative passenger pat down.

Policy says children under 12 years of age will have a modified search. “The child will be submitted to an alternate screening with the parent present, where it will be a modified version of the pat down,” explained TSA Spokesperson Luis Casanova.

The body scan images are seen by a single agent in a closed room who cannot see the face of the person in the machine and who cannot bring any cell phones or cameras into the image viewing room.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is joining those calling on the TSA to make some changes in its new airport security measures.

Senator Hutchison called the pat-downs “invasive”, and describes the screening procedures as “aggressive.” She told the head of the TSA Wednesday that passengers’ privacy concerns are legitimate, and wants federal agencies to direct more focus on gathering intelligence – to make sure would-be terrorists don’t make it to the airport in the first place.

The Senator also says she does not think the TSA should fine passengers who opt-out of the screening and choose to leave the airport.

  • Richard Obinga

    Is it very important to live or die, if it is, then security check at DFW is important. If u dont want to go through the check then don’t even think of flying..better ride the bus. Richie in Arlington.

    • Frank

      There’s no screening for the bus, Richie, and buses don’t go overseas and aren’t feasible for those of who travel for business. How many rights and how much personal dignity do you want to give up? Where does it stop? Body cavity searches? It’s next!

  • Tom

    Look. Anything that might improve aviation security is a good idea, but the real problem is that apparently the TSA doesn’t have a clue what that might be! They are substantially inconveniencing all of us who travel, instead of concentrating on likely suspects. Yes, I know, racial profiling, etc., but that is where the real risk lies! There is equipment available that “sniffs” for explosives. Using this type of equipment on every passenger might significantly reduce the problems at the security gate. It is expensive, but not as much as the new body scanners! I asked to be hand-searched on a trip recently, because I was sure that if I removed my suspenders, my pants would fall down. The TSA agents who searched me would probably have missed any weapons that the magnetic scanner had failed to pick up. The man was obviously afraid to conduct a proper frisk. Never mind the fact that someone who knows what he or she is doing can kill you with a ball-point pen, or even a plastic utinsil, it’s all just a farce so we will believe that our government is trying. That they are, very, very trying! This is all so foolish! It’s time for TSA to hire some administrators and supervisors with significant police experience. I’ll bet they could do a better job. It’s also time to pass some laws that allow for racial profiling when doing these types of security screening! This is all such a farce.

    • runner

      i agree . these inspections have gotten out of control . what is to stop a tsa screener from passing something to a passenger during the pat down ( i.e gun , knife or a bomb ) ??

  • Jimbobdon

    Tom is dead on, we are sheep, lulled into catharsis by our culture of consumerism, blind to the real dangers we put ourselves through in allowing our democratically elected goverment powers that we know to be violations of privacy and other basic rights guaranteed by our constitution. Farce indeed.

  • Quit Whinning

    Are you kidding Tom, racial profiling will never work for airport screening. Just look at what’s going on already, Muslims want to cover their face to get a drivers license picture. Our country is in sad shape, the Constution is old and outdated, and allows people to abuse the original intent of freedom. Actually, I beleive if you don’t want to be screened or get a patdown, then DON”T FLY.

  • Mike Fella

    Complete over reaction after 911; which has nothing to do with airport security.

  • George from Plano

    George From Plano

    I would prefer that my family and I get to where we are going safe..

  • Erick from Plano

    Everybody need to realized that the airport is a public Place so “PRIVACY DOES NOT EXIST” STOP WHINNING!!!

    Besides if someone is carries something illegal inside (I MEAN INSIDE) their private parts a pat down is a waste of time, is not going to find it, so the scanner should be the law IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT DON’T FLY…

  • Bob

    What is enough? What are we teaching our kids? The radiation you get from the backscatter xray is not the same as the radiation you get when you fly. The backscatter xray is a FOCUSED beam. Any tiny glitch in the system, any hiccup in the power and you get a FOCUSED dose of radiation that could cause skin cancer. Skin cancer kills. I also have to ask, what are we teaching our children? Its ok for a stranger to touch them in their private places? What is to stop a child molester from posing as a TSA agent and telling your child its ok because he works for the TSA. Mommy and Daddy let a TSA agent touch me and this man is a TSA agent so its ok? The choices we are being forced to make are not acceptable. Get the devices that can “sniff” out explosives, don’t force us to choose between two things that are not reasonable and that puts us and our children in danger.

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