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'The TSA Confiscated Our Baby Food'

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A Mom lobbies for change after TSA officials took away her baby's food at airport security.

Travelling with a baby is hard enough. But can you imagine going through airport security and having your baby's food taken away? That's exactly what happened to this Mom. Momlogic gets the shocking details.

Momlogic: What happened?

Arati: We were flying back from Chicago to Manchester, N.H. We were going through security and declared the baby formula and baby food, which I enclosed in two Ziploc bags. It went through the scanner without any problems, but the TSA officer thought I was bringing too much. He called his supervisor. She said since I was on a 2 1/2 hour flight and the weather was good, there was no reason for the amount of food and formula. She said it was excessive. Their report of how much I was carrying was exaggerated. They said I had 10 bottles of formula- actually, I had (2) 8-ounce bottles of formula, and (2) 2-ounce bottles. In addition, I had (5) 2-ounce packages of Gerber baby food. 

The officer gave us the option to return to the check-in area, and place the extra food and formula in our luggage. If we took that option, we would have missed our flight. Instead, they just took the food. They decided, not us. They took one 8-ounce bottle, and a few of the Gerber food packages.

ML: Why did you decide to protest?

Arati: I felt it was unfair because according to TSA regulations, there is no limit to the amount of baby food you can take, unless it's unreasonable quantities. I felt it was reasonable because there are always delays, especially in winter weather. There are stories of planes being stranded or grounded on the tarmac because of weather or delays in general. They don't sell baby food in the airport. Our daughter was underweight when she was born, so we are very much on top of her food intake because she's finally gaining appropriate weight. What the TSA officers failed to understand is that each serving (or package) is not one meal. She will have carrots, prunes, and formula. So it may have looked like a lot of food, but it was about 2 meals- one she'd eat on the plane, and one in case we were delayed. If we were traveling with formula and no baby, I could understand, but it literally fit in two Ziploc bags.

ML: What are you hoping for now?

Arati: An apology would be nice, but my husband and I are frequent travelers and we don't want to go through this again, nor do we want anyone else to go through this. We feel TSA should reevaluate their policies and understand the demands of parents traveling, and situations traveling. They need to take into account there are delays, no access to baby food, and either relax their rules and train officers to understand about baby food packaged in jars, or the stores within the airport should sell formula and baby food, so we don't have to worry about not having enough.

TSA's goals are to keep us safe. I feel they're wasting their resources searching parents who have a baby and baby food with them. They were arguing with us for quite some time, and I wonder what's getting through the security lines during the time they're arguing with us and others about baby food?  We have nothing against the officers and don't expect action, we just want the TSA to understand it's an area they need to pay attention to.

next: Nude in Front of the Sitter?
12 comments so far | Post a comment now
RealMomsHaveCurves  February 21, 2008, 2:58 PM

Yeah, the TSA is trying to keep us safe, but try having a hungry kid on a flight and see how SAFE the other passengers feel.

dixiegirl February 21, 2008, 3:33 PM

I would be angry. Those people need to use common sense. You definitely deserve an apology and hopefully this won’t happen again.

Susan P. February 21, 2008, 3:37 PM

I ended up passing on a trip this month because I feared something like this would happen. It’s unfortunate that the TSA’s restrictions are so stringent regarding baby food…it’s not like airports are stocking Enfamil.

Kelley February 21, 2008, 4:16 PM

I am the mother of a 2 year old, and we have flown 8 times in his little life. I have never personally had any trouble at security,and I usually bring 6 cans of pedia-sure for him to drink, but I have always thought that the airport should have a store dedicated to baby products, in general, diapers, wipes, baby food, formula. I mean, all the preparation in the world doesn’t make up for human error. I’m always afraid that I’ll run out of diapers or something.

kd February 21, 2008, 5:28 PM

Did Mom Logic contact TSA to get their response? I’d be interested in what they had to say. Their website clearly states that there are no limits on baby formula, milk or juice, etc…

Stephanie February 21, 2008, 9:43 PM

This is just another example of stupidity run amok. The parents have a legitimate reason to carry the food and milk on the flight, and the TSA website clearly states there are no limits on baby formula or food. As the parents explained, in the winter there is no way of knowing if there will be delays of cancellations, and once your bags are checked, you have no access to them again.
As there is no baby formula and food available in the airport, parents should be allowed to bring whatever they feel necessary on the plane in case of an emergency situation.
The really infuriating part about this is that we as parents aren’t allowed to protest or have a civil debate with the TSA officers, on threat of arrest. Airports have turned into a police state where we have no rights and common sense no longer exists.
This is why we don’t fly with our baby anymore…we just drive, or have our relatives come to us. It may seem inconsiderate, but we aren’t willing to deal with the hassle until she is old enough to eat real food and sit still in her own seat.

db February 23, 2008, 1:52 PM

this whole world is going to hell and to say that i cant have my babys food with me on the plane is crazy. its like saying that we arent serving food on the plane anymore. these people need to get a life

db February 23, 2008, 1:53 PM

this whole world is going to hell and to say that i cant have my babys food with me on the plane is crazy. its like saying that we arent serving food on the plane anymore. these people need to get a life

JediMom February 24, 2008, 12:39 PM

Given the hassle of just trying to get through the security line with taking off your shoes, emptying the stroller, handling your bags, ziplock bags and your child, do they seriously think that parents would bring anything other than what was absolutely necessary?

chele February 24, 2008, 1:01 PM

The only other option for planning to feed the child in an emergency situation in the plane/airport would be breastfeeding. You KNOW they’d have a fit if she were to expose her breast to feed the child. It’s absolutely ridiculous how feeding a baby has become national security or indecent exposure.

Amy February 24, 2008, 4:45 PM

I was stuck on the runway at JFK for 7 hours in September. Then flew to Seattle (5 hour flight). Although I did not have a baby with me, I had my 13 and 7 year old and since all the cut backs on planes there was no food service. IT made for a LONG LONG flight home. The TSA needs to realize delays happen…weather related or not and I would much rather have a mother of a small child be over prepared than have to listen to a screaming baby who is hungry because of over zealous TSA agents for an entire flight.

Fran Sandstrom August 6, 2009, 2:03 AM

Thanks for the info. There are so many over-zealous TSA staff who love to make your life miserable at the checkpoint. My wife and I are bringing our 8-month old baby girl to France next month, and I can tell it is going to be a big hassle at the airport.

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