Travel Tips

These travel tips regarding airline passenger screening by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) were provided by Nai Saechao Baker.

Good morning all! Just thought I would share our experiences with traveling by airplane. My husband and I recently took our 6 week newborn girl and Cora Lynn (full trisomy 13 and will be 5 in March) to Austin Texas from San Jose California by plane.  Below are a few things to take note of, for those considering travel with your trisomy babe:

1)  Really Important – TSA Cares!!  Every airport offers the assistance program named “TSA Cares”. When you check in, tell them you will need assistance with your child. There may be a few people working in the airport who are not familiar with TSA Cares but it is a mandatory federal program and you can not be denied this service. The person from TSA Cares will help any way you like them to.  They can carry your bags, help you in the changing room, take apart your stroller/wheelchair, etc… Most importantly, having them present with you allows you and your family to go in front of the line (“cut in front of others”) when your family is at the screening line before boarding. This is what helped us.  (webmaster note:  at the end of this article you will find several links to the TSA Cares information.  We suggest you look at the content of each link.  In addition, a Google search will reveal much more information about the TSA Cares program).

2) Liquids:  If planning to bring liquids for your trisomy babe, such as medications, liquids need to be transferred into small containers and let them know in advance that you have liquids. It will make the screening go faster. What we’ve learned on our way home is to put all medications/liquids into one carry on bag so that it’s grouped into only one bag because they test all liquids. Going there, I packed accordingly to what we will need immediately and what we will not need. Bad idea because then they will have to go through all bags and test the liquids . Save time if you put all liquids into one bag. Time is everything when there is so much going on .

3) If your child is on laxatives and “daily” poop is consistent, plan on giving the laxatives accordingly to your flight time (arriving destination time ). The reason I say this is because the bathrooms in the plane is no means accommodating to special needs kiddos.

4) If your child sits up with a little assistance, I suggest bringing the car seat. If the child does not sit up, then don’t because it’s just too much to bring. Kiddos can lay sideways when the arm rest is raised.

5) If possible, choose a really early time or not on weekends or on a Monday and Friday flight so that there are not a lot of people in the plane

6. If you are planning on bringing your baby and bringing an infant car seat in the plane for your infant (not having your baby sitting on your lap or holding your baby) invest in buying one of the cozy covers car seat covers. Helps to keep germs away from baby and also to keep baby warm!

TSA Screening Assistance    TSA Medical/Disability Assistance    TSA Cares Program Brochure