Airport Security….Pumps…and Advice for Little Ones.

Airport scannerThere has been much discussion about what happens with an insulin pump when going through security at airports.

I caution those who say, “it’s okay, I just send it through… far…nothing has happened, so why worry.”  I have heard others say one should not attempt that because it could damage the machinery. 

Now, granted, you can get away with something 346 times but if something happens on the 347th; everything before; is for naught.  I asked Caroline Pavis Director of Global Communications at Animas for a statement about pumps; of course she could only speak for her devices but it surely might be a rule-of-thumb to live by.

Animas is committed to providing our patients with the highest standard of care, and continues to investigate how we can support our traveling pumpers. 

Currently, we recommend that our patients avoid going through X-ray machines when traveling, as the machines may potentially damage the pump’s software and therefore affect insulin delivery.  This includes the newest airport screening tool, Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) or full body scanner. 

We provide detailed instructions both on our website and directly to our pumpers about the proper procedures to follow during airport security check-ins, including:

• Patients should alert TSA employees that they are an insulin pump user, and should not undergo an X-ray machine

• We also provide a letter, which can be shared with airport personnel should they be questioned or asked to be scanned  

We encourage our patients to refer to the Animas website at or call our Customer Support line at 877-767-7373, should they have questions concerning travel with their pump.

So that is the OFFICIAL word.  You may read what others do, which may be contrary to what is correct; you may do what YOU THINK IS OKAY, but be warned now you know that the manufacturer clearly gives a warning and it would probably be smart to heed the advice. 

Taking an extra 10 minutes at TSA might avoid an entire days’ worth of hassles later on.

For those who do not travel frequently with children, or perhaps this is a first time experience, may I suggest the following:
Children fear the unknown.  If your child has diabetes it may very well turn out that they will be “wand’ at the security check point at the airport.  DO not make this their first time to experience this.

While at home, take a tool that is dark and about 18 inches long (something your children may not really recognize).  Explain to your child that when at the airport the TSA Agent (let them know who they are and say the name TSA a few times in the explanation) may need to run a wand, sort of like what you are holding, around them.

DO NOT tell them it is a game.  Do not tell them it is because of their diabetes….tell them that mommy and daddy may be chosen as well.

Have them stand with their legs and arms apart and run the wand around them like they do at an airport.

Do this is a few times and with all of your children, not just the one(s) with diabetes, do your spouse/partner as well.  Do it, if possible on a few different days.  After you have done it the first few times….explain to your child that a beeping sound may happen as well.  And make a beeping sound from time to time as well.

Do this a few times within about a week before you leave and your child will not be exposed to seeing something for the first time while on-line at the airport.  Much anxiety will be avoided.

Again; fear of the unknown, make it ‘known’ and the fear will be greatly diminished.

Happy Travels.

I am a diabetes dad.

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Travel…….High Anxiety! One Very Simple Rule will Go a Long Way at TSA!!!!!!

There is a list full of things to do when you are about to embark on travel that will take you through security.  You can find them all over the internet and I’m not going to rehash all of it again today.

I have read where parents have had nightmare experiences with their children and their children have been traumatized by the entire experience of merely going through security.

Here is something we did for years and years ago; and it actually goes way beyond just those with diabetes.  Perhaps it is the actor in me (see my bio) but there is one simple thing we did with our kids that you can do also that may alleviate much of the anxiety.

Role play.

Don’t make it or call it a game (it is not), but take a tool that your child does not recognize which resembles a wand, and have them stand with their arms out and ‘wand’ them with whatever odd-looking item you own. 

“Pat them down” and look through their diabetes supplies like the TSA would do.  Start this a few weeks prior to your trip and maybe even now and again make a beeping sound  and check their pockets. 

If your children are used to something—-they are used to something.  Do not make your actual vacation be the first time they see how security works.  Kids are afraid of the unknown; make the process as normal and as ‘known’ as possible and it will cut down on everyone’s anxiety.  Perhaps not all anxiety–but much.  It is the world we live in now, show them.

I’m a Diabetesdad.