Baby breach: Failure to screen newborn causes airport terminal shutdown

A passenger holding her baby prepares to go through an airport security checkpoint (Reuters / Mario Anzuoni)
A Newark Airport terminal was shut down for over an hour after airport security discovered they had not properly screened a baby.

The incident occurred on Friday as a family was passing through a security checkpoint, TSA officials say. A mother with a baby walked through a metal detector when the machine sounded an alarm. The mother then handed the baby to its father, who had already cleared security. She was then cleared and the family proceeded to the boarding gate.

The TSA then realized it had failed to screen the baby, and began searching for the family but were unable to find it. The TSA then notified the Port Authority police, though they stated that it was a low-risk situation. The police then shut down the terminal for 80 minutes, preventing flights from taking off and making passengers go through security clearance again.

We’re not going to second-guess a real-time decision made by our police department to err on the side of caution and protect passenger safety,” a Port Authority spokesman said.

This isn’t the first time airport security officials overreacted to a perceived threat.

On Wednesday, a plane at Chicago’s Midway Airport was quarantined for two hours on suspicion that one of the passengers was infected with a contagious disease. But it turned out that the passenger's ominous-looking skin rash was a result of bug bites.

The day before that, a four-year old girl was patted down in a separate room after the TSA said her grandmother could have passed contraband to her during a hug. The girl, as well as the rest of her family, was eventually cleared, although the TSA refused to apologize for the incident.

And in March, the TSA subjected a three-year-old, wheelchair-bound boy to a pat down search over suspicions that he was carrying explosives.