Airport Tips and Tricks with Kids

CATSA, airport tips and tricksWe all know by now that flying with babies and toddlers is not for the faint of heart – even before you board! Getting everyone packed, organized, and ready to go through security with little fuss can be (or feel) challenging. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has passed along a few airport tips and tricks as helpful reminders, to help make your summer air travel experiences a little less stressful.

Know how to carry-on

Children get hungry for snacks. You know this and you want to be prepared. Solid foods such as apples, granola bars, or sandwiches can be packed in your carry-on for the plane ride. Before going through security, any liquid food, such as yogurt, pudding, or even peanut butter, must be in containers of 100ml or less and placed in a clear, closed, resealable one-litre plastic bag. If these are staples for your kids, it might be easier to purchase them once you’re through security.

If you’re traveling with a baby (under the age of two), items such as baby food, breast milk, formula, water, and juice are exempt from airport security’s 100 ml limit and do not have to be placed in a plastic bag. However, you must present these items to the screening officer for inspection. I’ve found it easiest to keep all these items together in an insulated bag.

Other personal items to keep the kids entertained, like iPods, tablets and toys, can go in your child’s carry-on baggage. Be sure to leave toys that look like weapons (e.g. water guns, toy grenades, etc.) at home. If you’ve permitted your child to pack their own carry-on, give it a quick once over to make sure no inappropriate toys were accidentally packed.

CATSA, airport tips and tricksCheck wait times

Preparing for your departure is easier with CATSA’s online wait time indicator. Wait times for security screening checkpoints major airports provide extra convenience when planning your trip. But even though waiting can sometimes be a drag, for your own peace of mind it’s easiest to just get to the airport early. Especially if you’re flying through Pearson and heading to the USA… Pre-clearing customs on the Canadian side saves time once you land, but lines for customs at Pearson can sometimes be insanely long.

catsa, airport tips and tricksBreeze through security

Did you know there is a Family/Special needs lane at most Canadian airports? This lane is for passengers who need more time or help with their belongings to get through security. Check when you arrive if this lane is available. If your stroller or car seat won’t fit through the screening machine, be prepared to wait a bit so officials can personally inspect them. Prepare your toddler in advance that “Teddy” has to go for a little ride.

Make sure your family wears easy-to-remove outerwear, clothing without snaps, metal buttons or studs, and be sure to limit jewelry to small items such as earrings. Let your child walk through the metal detector if they are able to do so on their own. You only need to remove your shoes if you are travelling to the US.

Travelling with the family pooch?

Contact your airline in advance to find out about their policy for passengers travelling with pets. If your pet is travelling in the cabin with you, remove it from its carrying case, send the carrying case through the x-ray scanner, hold your pet in your arms and proceed through the metal detector.

Follow these airport tips and tricks, and the only thing left to do is relax and enjoy your family vacation. Well, we know that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but at least you’re well on your way!


Additional travel advice can be found online at, on Twitter (@catsa_gc), and Pinterest (
Many thanks to CATSA for sponsoring this post.

14 Responses to Airport Tips and Tricks with Kids

  1. Great tips for air travel in Canada, the US & beyond!

  2. Allison at #

    Good tips from a good source. Knowing what to expect at airport security makes everything go more smoothly.

  3. Nguyen at #

    Thanks for sharing the tips. This also depends on the country you visit as well. Some airports are easier to get through than others.

  4. Frank at #

    Getting to the airport 3 hours before an international flight has always worked for me. Also, be aware that certain destinations may have restrictions on certain foods on arrival due to agri-security concerns, so keep portion sizing in mind when it comes to things like fresh fruit!

  5. Brittney at #

    As a mom, traveling with children can be really stressful sometimes and these tips could help. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Skylo at #

    I hate travelling through the airport with my kids so I ll try this.Find it much easier just to go camping.

  7. thank you for taking your time to put together this useful tips!

  8. Mian at #

    Thanks for the Tips, though i have no children at the moment, Hahaha 🙂

  9. Deena at #

    Very useful article for parents.

  10. Sue at #

    One thing that we discovered by chance…
    It can be a lot easier to get through security if you check the stroller along with your bags and use a baby carrier instead of a stroller in the airport. With a stroller you need to take your baby our of the stroller and security will inspect it before you can put your baby back in. By inspect I mean remove the car seat, any car seat or stroller liners, dig through everything and hand you it all back in pieces for you to struggle with while holding your baby that is now fussing after the 10 minute ordeal. If you avoid bringing the stroller and opt for a baby carrier you can walk right through security without even having to remove your baby from the carrier. As long as you don’t set off the metal detector no additional inspection will be required. So much easier.

    • Corinne at #

      Great tip, Sue–thanks!

    • Yori at #

      i might change my mind bringing the stroller, thank you Sue for the Tips

  11. Shreya at #

    Traveling with kids can be tough at times… but if you know how to mentally prepare yourself & your kids, it becomes a cake walk! Excellent tips.

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