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Security Restrictions At Airports Loosened For Children 12 And Younger

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Big changes at our nation’s airports where new security measures for children 12 years and younger are about to take effect.

Jessica Kartalija has more from travelers who say they’re on-board with the plan.

Homeland Security officials say we can expect these changes to take effect over the next few weeks.

A 6-year-old girl is patted down by a TSA agent, the agent is talking the girl through the security procedure. TSA says the agent acted appropriately, but the screening process is changing.

“We are moving to loosen restrictions on children under 12,” said Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security.

Addressing Congress, Napolitano said children 12 and younger will no longer have to remove their shoes.

“Usually kids aren’t carrying bombs that I know of,” one traveler said. “So I think that’s a good idea.”

“I’m glad that, taking a child to the airport, I won’t have the hassle of having to take her shoes off, and putting them back on,” Jill Johnston, a mother from Raleigh, N.C., said.

Parents like Johnston say it will save her time and speed the security process for others.

“A big part of people flying anywhere is worrying about the security process, how long that might take,” another traveler said.

In addition to the children not having to remove their shoes when they go through security, there are alternatives to the child having to be patted down.

Children may be asked to go through metal detectors or walk through imaging machines multiple times.

“We teach our children not to let anyone touch you, we teach our children not to let any adults touch you,” Johnson said. “And then it’s supposed to be OK as soon as we go through an airport. That’s unacceptable.”

Homeland Security officials say there may be some exceptions to these rules. They say they want to keep these security checks unpredictable.

Napolitano says these security changes require additional training for all TSA officers.

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