Epi-pen Jr. in an Airport (And Some Liquid Questions)

Updated on June 22, 2012
K.L. asks from Fort Stewart, GA
10 answers

My 19 month old son has a food allergy and we must carry an epi-pen jr. around with us at all times. Is there any special consideration we have to take when traveling by plane? I can see security claiming that it is a weapon or something like that since there is a needle, but at the same time, it is a rescue medication that is required to be with my son at all times.

Also, because my son's food allergy, he usually cannot eat food out. I will be packing him some of his favorites since we will be traveling for breakfast and lunch. Is applesauce considered a liquid? I was wanting to bring some because it is something that I can count on him eating.

I know that formula is allowed, but drinks are not. Usually no big deal because you can by water, juice, milk, and sodas in the airport, but my son drinks soy milk, and i doubt i will be able to find that. Would soy milk in a sippy cup be considered formula since my son is under 2 and a lap child?


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answers from Denver on

Instead of a sippy cup (too much potential for spilling or dripping, the top coming off, etc), I have seen individual (8 oz or so) vacuum packed servings of all kinds of alternative milks in places like Whole Foods. If you have a Trader Joes or Whole Foods or health food store, you should be able to find small containers that would be easy to pack and that don't require refrigeration. Then you can fill the sippy cup as you need it.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I have never had a problem bringing epi pens or soy milk through security and in my carry-on luggage. With the milk, they will limit the amount you bring. You can have more than 3 ounces, but probably not a whole unopened carton. Really just enough to get you through the flight. Be prepared to take all of it (milk and medication) out of your bag at security so they can see it properly as it goes through the scanner. If you have one or two sippy cups of milk, you'll be fine.

Applesauce should also be fine. They do make exceptions for food allergies. We've flown several times with my son (all domestic, including to Hawaii) and never once had a problem with soy milk or epipens.

ETA: I have never brought a prescription or doctor's note for the epipen. I have also carried both liquid and pill-form benadryl. Never a problem.

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answers from Eugene on

We flew over seas and had the doctor write a note authorizing my daughter to carry her epi-pen with her at all times. We also took a copy of the prescription.

Starbucks and other coffee shops often have soy milk available if you are not able to bring your own on the plane.

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answers from Albuquerque on

We fly with an epi-pen all the time and have never had a problem. You will be allowed to bring soy milk in a sippy cup, but plan extra time to get through security since they'll need to test the liquid. And... you can only bring enough for the flight (so maybe one cup's worth). Applesauce is considered a liquid, so if you get some of those little squeezable pouches you'll be fine. They're under 3 ozs and you can put them in the one clear quart sized bag that is allowed.

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answers from New York on

Just have a doctors note. Just buy som water. I am sure he can survive
a few hours without milk.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I would feel best having the documentation from your son's physician. Epi-pens are common but TSA are not the brightest or consistent bulbs.

My friend's grandson is in a coma (feeding tube and tons of meds) and they flew recently from Los Angeles to Philadelphia. They arranged it with the airline ahead of time to bring typically flagged items and it worked out fine. I think that would work out well.

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answers from Des Moines on

I always have my epi pen in my purse and never mention it. Out of probably 20 flights I was asked to show it to them once. They asked...I told them and that was it.

If you need to bring soy milk on the plane, they will open it and test a few drops. They will not contaminate it. And you will be on your way. Both could make your trip through security a fw extra minutes...but no worries about it.

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answers from Dallas on

I just flew for the first time in years last week. So we perused the TSA website and got all the info we needed there. http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editoria...

"Medically necessary liquids and gels, including medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are exempt from the 3-1-1 rules, and are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces (100ml). They are not required to be in a zip-top bag. Officers may ask travelers to open these items to conduct additional screening and passengers should declare them for inspection at the checkpoint.

Please be advised that passengers going on long trips should only carry on the medically necessary liquids and gels needed for their infant/toddler’s immediate comfort during the flight. Please pack larger amounts of liquids for the remainder of the trip in a checked bag.

Lastly, avoid any additional hassles by making sure nothing you plan to pack is on TSA’s list of prohibited items. Learn more on the Prohibited Items page."

My grandmother has to travel with an epi pen. She carries a dr. note with her just in case, although she was never asked about it during her travels. SHe just wanted in to avoid any hassles while out of state.

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answers from Atlanta on

I've never been stopped for my sons epi pen. Since he could die without it I'm not sure if they could stop you.

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answers from Austin on

As far as the epi-pen, I doubt it will cause any problems. My mother is diabetic (type II), and travels with her Byetta and injectors all the time. She keeps them in a small lunch cooler with a couple of refrigerated gel-packs. I usually forget to tell them about the gel-packs, though... when we flew from Las Vegas to Texas a few days ago, I forgot to remove that lunch bag from her carry-on, and it got "flagged" ... I just explained that she is diabetic and the medication needs to be kept cool... they pulled the lunch bag from the carry-on, and that was all. One other time they actually did a special chemical check on it, though.

I would call the particular airport and ask them for sure how to handle it... and yes, please arrive early!

I was actually more concerned about her hip replacement she had last fall.... however, since she is 87 now, I don't think they even make her go through the body scanner! The sky-cap just wheeled her through security with no problems.

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