PHOTO: Traveling with infants just got exponentially easier. (Courtesy Thinkstock)
Parents of infants received an early Christmas present as President Obama has signed the Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening (BABES) Act into law.
The new bill will require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to better accommodate parents traveling with breast milk, infant food and feeding equipment. Previously, for example, security agents had forced parents to dump their breast milk out if it was more than three ounces.
The BABES Act was introduced by U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).
“Too many parents have dealt with the TSA’s harassment-like treatment for carrying infant food and breast milk through airport security – even though this is allowed under TSA’s own guidelines. With the president signing my bill into law today, we will make it easier for families to travel with the supplies and food they need,” Beutler said in a statement. “The BABES Act will ensure that TSA agents are trained to provide families traveling with breastmilk with reasonable, consistent treatment, and that the agency maintains this priority in the future for new hires and retraining activities.”
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According to the new law, TSA officers will begin to receive training on how to screen breast milk, formula, and infant feeding equipment within the next 90 days.
In large part, the bill became law thanks to a huge push by Bébé Voyage, an online community and resource for globetrotting parents. Bébé Voyage rallied its members to send petitions to lawmakers urging them to pass the bill before the close of the legislative session.
“We are so grateful to Congresswoman Herrera Beutler for introducing this bill and garnering bipartisan support on it,” Marianne Perez de Fransius, Bébé Voyage CEO, said in a statement. “Traveling with a baby is a harrowing experience and thanks to her leadership and all of Congress’ participation, we are looking forward to improved conditions when going through airport security. This truly is an amazing holiday present for our community.”