TSA Agent Pats Down And Swabs Boy, 3, In Wheelchair At Chicago O'Hare Airport

Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 19/03/2012 11:20 Updated: 19/03/2012 12:28

YouTube video of an airport security worker patting down and swabbing a wheelchair-bound little boy has gone viral.

Uploaded on 17 March by mattonair, the clip shows the three-year-old boy being taken aside by the TSA at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.

The little boy, who has a broken leg, was en route to Disney World, accompanied by his siblings, parents and grandparents when they were stopped.

It features the youngster looking fretful as the agent states he needs to take swabs of his cast and wheelchair.

Scroll down for video of the incident

The child’s father tries to reassure his son, telling him “Weird huh? It’s a little weird. Are you nervous? Don’t be nervous. It’s OK.

“He’s just checking to make sure we’re OK.”

At this point a note is added to the clip, which reads: “My little boy wanted me to come over to hold his hand and give him a hug. He was trembling with fear. I was told I could NOT touch him during this process.

“Instead we had to pretend this was ‘OK’ so he didn’t panic.”

The agent then asks for the little boy to lift up his shirt.

A subsequent note from his increasingly enraged father says: “Apparently, there’s lots of children in wheelchairs being used to bring down airplanes. It’s a brilliant plan when you think about it.

“PRETEND you are going to Disney, with 3 children, 2 parents, and 2 grandparents…when REALLY you smuggle C4 inside your toddler’s cast and wheelchair.”

“I was livid at this point. I am asking myself why the F**k isn’t someone with a brain coming over to waive him through.

“Someone in a position of authority NEEDS to make the obvious decision this child is not a threat RIGHT? You are swabbing a 3 year olds hands for explosives? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? “

The guard steps out of the frame for a moment and the camera reveals a pensioner in the security queue.

Another note reads: “There’s another threat! A senior citizen with a cane! Crack work from the ACE TSA team at ORD. Meanwhile they haven’t swabbed the toddler ENOUGH. Check the wheelchair AGAIN guys! This kid looks fishy!!!”

The stricken boy gazes at his father as he continues to reassure him, repeating “It’s ok, we’re almost done buddy. It’s OK.”

The TSA have been accused of over-zealous security checks in the past. In May 2011 a baby was subjected to a search at Kansas City airport.

You Tube video posted in April revealed New Orleans agents patting down a six-year-old and in July a mother was arrested in Tennessee after trying to prevent her daughter from being subjected to a search.

Andrea Fornella Abbott apparently yelled she didn’t want her daughter to “be touched inappropriately or have her crotch grabbed”, The Tennessean reported.

Literature on the TSA website says: “Our current policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers, regardless of their personal situations and needs, are treated equally and with the dignity, respect, and courtesy they deserve.

"Although every person and item must be screened before entering each secure boarding area. All disability-related equipment, aids, and devices are allowed through security checkpoints once cleared through screening.”

It adds: “Know that if your child is unable to walk or stand, the Security Officer will conduct a pat-down search of your child while he/she remains in their mobility aid, as well as a visual and physical inspection of their equipment.”

While some viewers claim the latest procedure was “fair enough”, others have criticised what they see as a heavy-handed approach , with 1marymagoo branding it “unreasonable and wrong on many levels”.

What do you think?

Check out more TSA blunders below
Loading Slideshow...
  • An unidentified TSA agent left a note asking a woman to "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/24/woman-finds-sexual-note-in-luggage_n_1029382.html" target="_hplink">Get Your Freak On Girl</a>". The TSA agent was later fired.

  • Isis Brantley, a Dallas-area hair dresser, was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/21/isis-brantley-dallas-woma_n_973787.html" target="_hplink">mad at the TSA in September for checking her afro for weapons</a>.

  • Ashley Yang poses for a photo at Los Angeles International Airport, LAX on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, in Los Angeles. Yang, a transgender woman, was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/04/tsa-transgender-training-_n_918838.html" target="_hplink">fired from her Transportation Security Administration</a>, TSA passenger screener job at LAX for using the women's room. She recently received a five-figure settlement, back pay and mandatory transgender sensitivity for TSA managers at the LAX airport. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

  • After a woman was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/02/tsa-molested-me-woman-scr_n_870583.html" target="_hplink">allegedly sexually harassed </a>by TSA agents at Sky Harbor International in Phoenix, AZ, her son documented the aftermath as the TSA, Southwest Airlines and Phoenix Police threaten him with arrest for filming the ordeal. Officials seem more concerned with the video than with the woman brought to tears at the security checkpoint. Video courtesy of YouTube.com/rynomaz111

  • Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/14/donald-rumsfeld-patted-do_n_899348.html" target="_hplink">received a patdown</a> while traveling through Chicago's O'Hare airport in July. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, File)

  • In July 2011, a 61-year-old Denver woman named <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/17/yukari-mihamae-61yearold-_n_900969.html?ref=tsa" target="_hplink">Yukari Mihamae</a> was accused of groping a TSA agent. People rallied around her, even creating a <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Acquit-Yukari-Mihamae/193771357344518" target="_hplink">Facebook page</a> in support of her acquittal. Associated Press

  • Also in July 2011, a <a href="http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/07/15/marian-paterson-94-year-old-women-gets-tsa-patdown/" target="_hplink">94-year-old woman named Marian Paterson</a> was patted down while standing. At the time, Paterson told ABC News she didn't understand why "of all people in America, why they'd pick out some little old lady." ABC News

  • In July 2011,<a href="http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/07/25/thomas-sawyer-cancer-survivor-gets-soaked-by-his-own-urine-aga/" target="_hplink"> former cancer patient Thomas Sawyer</a> was soaked by his own urine when his urostomy bag was burst by a TSA inspector during a patdown. Sadly, this was the <a href="http://www.gadling.com/2010/11/20/tsa-pees-on-tom-sawyer/" target="_hplink">second time this had happened to him</a>. NBC

  • Ron Paul has come out firmly against the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/05/ron-paul-tsa-_n_890511.html" target="_hplink">TSA saying it should be abolished</a>.

  • This undated photo provided by Jean Weber shows her mother, Lena Reppert. The gravely ill 95-year-old woman had to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/26/tsa-pats-down-elderly-wom_n_884902.html" target="_hplink">remove her wet diaper at an airport</a> so that she could be patted down by security screeners and nearly missed her flight, her daughter said. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Jean Weber)

  • Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee member Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. shows a picture he says is of a young girl being searched by the TSA, during the committee's hearing to examine ongoing transportation security threats, Wednesday, June 22, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

  • In this Saturday, May 7, 2011 handout photo, a baby boy, held by his mother, is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/11/baby-receives-pat-down-at_n_860436.html" target="_hplink">frisked by TSA agents</a> at Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, Mo. Federal officials insisted Wednesday that screeners at Kansas City International Airport were just doing their jobs when they frisked the baby, an incident that gained worldwide attention after a pastor posted a cellphone picture of the pat-down on Twitter. (AP Photo)

  • Former <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/28/susie-castillos-tsa-rant-_n_855038.html" target="_hplink">Ms USA Susie Castillo filmed her breakdown</a> at the Dallas airport after she felt she was inappropriately touched by a TSA agent.

  • Selena Drexel, of Bowling Green, Ky., sits in front of her home computer Wednesday, April 13, 2011, with a video showing her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/13/tsa-pats-down-6year-old-g_n_848626.html" target="_hplink">6-year-old daughter Anna getting frisked</a> at the New Orleans airport earlier this month by the TSA officials. (AP Photo/Joe Imel)

  • Rep. Sharon Cissna, D-Anchorage, center, answers questions from members of the press after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/24/rep-sharon-cissna-tsa_n_827934.html" target="_hplink">disembarking the Alaska Ferry Matanuska</a>, in Juneau, Alaska Thursday, February 24th, 2011. Cissna's four-day ordeal began when she <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/21/rep-sharon-cissna-tsa-patdown_n_825851.html" target="_hplink">refused to be patted down</a> by TSA agents in the Seattle-Tacoma airport following a full body scan that detected her mastectomy, which the TSA agent felt necessitated the extra security precaution of a full body pat down, Cissna's second in three months. She refused, and took a ferry from Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Juneau to return to her legislative duties. Cisna vowed Thursday to fight for the rights of travelers who have been subjected to what she considers intrusive airport searches by federal airport screeners. (AP Photo/Chris Miller)

  • In January, a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/20/edward-hall-iii-forgets-i_n_811585.html?ref=tsa" target="_hplink">24-year-old Columbia University student jumped on a baggage carousel</a> at JFK airport in an attempt to make his flight after a TSA agent wouldn't let him through security without a valid ID. The TSA wins this one, but it's still pretty funny.

  • Former Minnesota governor <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/24/jesse-ventura-sues-tsa-ov_n_813460.html" target="_hplink">Jesse Ventura sued the TSA</a> over their techniques last winter. Earlier this month, the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/jesse-venturas-tsa-lawsui_n_1075676.html" target="_hplink">lawsuit was thrown out </a>; Ventura has since <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/jesse-ventura-lawsuit_n_1076670.html" target="_hplink">vowed to move to Mexico</a>. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

  • Surveillance video of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/31/aaron-b-tobey-airport-pas_n_802995.html" target="_hplink">Aaron Tobey</a> going through airport security at Richmond International Airport Dec. 29, 2010 after stripping to his undershorts in protest of the TSA surveillance methods. Related story: bit.ly

  • Who could forget <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/02/tammy-banovac-wheelchairb_n_791222.html" target="_hplink">Tammy Banovac</a>, a 52-year old woman from Oklahoma, who stripped down to her skivvies (aka black lingerie) to get through security at Will Rogers World Airport? YouTube

  • In December 2010, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/khloe-kardashian-tsa-rape_n_793059.html" target="_hplink">Khloe Kardashian compared the TSA's patdown techniques to rape</a>. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

  • An illustration shows lobbying material protesting against full body scans outside of a conference on Transportation Security Administration procedures at the Carnegie Institute for Science in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/15/john-tyner-videos_n_783678.html" target="_hplink">John Tyner (aka "Don't Touch My Junk"</a>) posted a blog saying he had been ejected after being threatened with a fine and lawsuit for refusing a groin check after turning down a full-body scan at San Diego International Airport in November 2010. (AP Photo/Rebekah Butler) NO SALES

  • Former "Baywatch" actress<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/08/donna-derrico-baywatch-st_n_793909.html" target="_hplink"> Donna D'Errico said that a TSA agent "singled her out"</a> for a full-body scan at LAX. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • An enterprising traveler--in an attempt to avoid a full body scan--<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/24/traveller-wears-bikini-th_n_788127.html?ref=tsa" target="_hplink">showed up to the airport in a bikini</a>.

  • Paul Gambill, of Tempe, protests curbside at Sky Harbor International Airport Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010 in Phoenix. Gambill was participating in the National Opt Out Day protest against the use of body-scanning technology by the TSA.(AP Photo/Matt York)

  • My friend Jimmy successfully navigated a TSA security checkpoint in a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/24/speedo-tsa-_n_788137.html" target="_hplink">speedo swimsuit</a> at the Salt Lake City International Airport on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 with the words, 'SCREW BIG SIS' written on his back. Why the speedo?

  • Activist Lori Lamb distributes stickers to travelers to protest against TSA's new security procedures at Los Angeles International Airport, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010. Holiday travelers dismayed by airport body scans <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/24/opt-out-day-how-_n_788002.html" target="_hplink">planned protests</a> at bustling airports, while the head of the nation's transport security agency urged passengers to comply with searches to reduce the possibility of delays on one of the busiest travel days of the year. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • A Taiwanese animation company took on the TSA's practices in a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/17/taiwanese-tsa-cartoon_n_784709.html?ref=tsa" target="_hplink">holiday-themed mocking </a>last year. <em> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBL3ux1o0tM&feature=player_embedded" target="_hplink">NMA World Edition</a></em>

  • Whoopi Goldberg has called<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/22/whoopi-tsa-pat-downs_n_786756.html" target="_hplink"> TSA's patdowns "necessary</a>." (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)