Can You Bring Baby Formula Powder On An Airplane?

I’m planning a large family trip soon, and there’ll be quite a few infants and toddlers in our group. 

Given how rapidly TSA guidelines are changing, I wanted to know can baby powder be brought on a plane? 

I looked up the rules on the TSA website and the guidelines are very clear on this and other essential childcare items like baby formula, baby food jars, and even gel-based teethers.

So, can baby powder be brought on a plane? According to the TSA website, baby powder can be brought on a plane as long as you don’t carry more than 350ml or 12 ounces. You will have to pull out any baby powder in your hand luggage for extra screening. Be prepared though – if TSA agents can’t confirm it’s baby powder, they will most likely throw it in the trash.

Similar rules apply to other infant and toddler travel necessities, including liquid baby food and breast milk. 

The TSA website notes that travelers carrying such items should notify TSA authorities at the security checkpoint that they have these items in their carry-on luggage. 

You will be asked to remove the items from your carry-on and place them in a separate bin for additional screening.

Can You Bring Baby Powder on an Airplane?

You are allowed to bring baby powder on an airplane, but it must be in a 350ml container or smaller. However, TSA does give parents traveling with infants a certain amount of leeway in terms of the amount of baby powder they can bring on the plane.

For instance, if you’re traveling on an international route with more than one stopover, you’ll probably need more than 350ml of baby powder. 

After all, depending on the age of your infant, you might need to change your child’s diapers at least every couple of hours. 

If you do feel that you will need more than 350ml of baby powder to see you through your journey, just inform the TSA officer at the checkpoint.

TSA officers do have some discretion when it comes to letting travelers have more than the 350ml limit of baby powder. 

Inorganic powders like talcum are subject to stronger restrictions as they’re not considered an essential item. 

However, if you explain your situation to the TSA officer, they might let you take it on board. All powders are subject to additional screening.

Can You Bring Baby Formula Powder on an Airplane?

Baby formula powder is also an essential carry-on item when you’re traveling with infants, but 350ml of baby formula powder won’t get you very far, especially if you’re on a long-haul flight. 

Baby formula powder falls under the category of organic powders and is still subject to the 350ml rule.

If you plan on taking baby formula powder on the plane with you in excess of 350ml, make sure that you inform the TSA officer. 

Remove the formula powder from your carry-on bags and place it in a separate screening bin along with any other baby care items you have, like baby powder and baby food jars. It will be passed through a separate screening procedure.

You might also want to buy small travel packs of baby formula powder for your trip. 

TSA officials have to confirm that the powder you’re carrying is baby formula and this can be difficult for them to do. 

It’s really at their discretion to decide if it’s baby formula, and they might very well throw it out if they feel unsure. Traveling with formula powder in the original packaging will make it easier to get it through.

Liquids Rule Exemption

In general, carrying any sort of powder on a plane comes with a lot of restrictions, and you’ll have to talk your way through to taking more than 350ml of baby powder or formula mix on board a plane. 

However, there are a number of exemptions when it comes to carrying liquids in your carry-on bag when it comes to childcare essentials.

When it comes to liquids, the standard rule is that you can take up to 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters with you on the plane. This rule typically applies to all liquids, including juice, water, and toiletry or cosmetic items. 

Exceptions to this rule cover childcare items like:

  • Breast milk
  • Liquid formula
  • Baby food
  • Baby juices

These items will be pulled for extra screening.

You do need to tell the TSA agent if you’re carrying more than 3.4 ounces of liquid for your child. 

Keep in mind that these rules only apply to parents or guardians traveling with their young children. 

If you don’t have your child with you at the time of travel, the liquids exception rule does not apply except for breast milk. You can travel with breast milk in excess of 3.4 ounces, even if your child is not with you.

What Baby Care Products Can You Take on Board?

As any parent knows, when you’re traveling with very young children, you have to take all the necessities with you. 

Knowing what you can take on board is essential to making sure you have as stress-free a journey as possible. 

The TSA does understand the special requirements inherent in traveling with infants and toddlers, and they have put in place a number of exceptions that make life easier for parents.

As a parent or guardian of a young child, you can take the following items on board, although they will be subject to additional screening. 

As always, the TSA agent at the security checkpoint will make the final decision on what items you’ll be allowed to take on board with you.

Item Carry-On Rule Exceptions to Carry-On Rule
Baby powder – talcum powder Maximum of 350ml or 12oz Exceptions are rare but can be made at the discretion of the TSA agent. Inform agents at security checkpoints if you have more than the maximum amount. Extra screening required.
Baby formula powder Maximum of 350ml or 12oz Exceptions for parents traveling with infants on long haul journeys can be made at the discretion of the TSA agent, with proof of onward journey beyond the initial destination. Extra screening required.
Liquid Baby Formula, Juice, Water Falls under liquids exception rule Can carry more than 3.4 ounces on board as long as you are traveling with your child. Extra screening required.
Baby Food Jars Reasonable amount for the duration of travel Can carry more than 3.4 ounces on board, but the amount you can take on the plane is at the discretion of the TSA agent. Your child needs to be traveling with you. Extra screening required.
Breast Milk Falls under liquids exception rule Can carry more than 3.4 ounces onboard, at the discretion of the TSA agent. Your child does not need to be traveling with you. Extra screening required.
Ice packs, Gel-based teething rings Falls under liquids exception rule Can carry gel-based ice packs and teething rings on board. If they are partially defrosted, they will need to go through extra screening.

What Are the Screening Procedures?

As we have seen, there is a fair amount of leeway in terms of the items you can take with you when you’re traveling with small children. 

However, there is also a lot of extra security screening you will have to go through. 

It’s important to understand those screening procedures before you head to the airport so that you can make sure you have enough time to get through security.

Pack Carry-on Childcare Items Separately

When going through the security checkpoint at the airport, you’ll be asked to place any baby food, formula, and other childcare products in a separate bin. 

Make sure you pack these items in a separate carry-on bag so that they’re easier to find. 

Try not to overpack – take only what you think you’ll need for the journey and pack the rest of your childcare supplies in your luggage.

Communicate with the TSA Agents

It’s pretty much a given that you’ll need to take more than 3.4 ounces of liquids on board when you’re traveling with a small child. 

The same holds true for items like baby powder, breast milk, and even medications. 

Let the TSA agents know that you’re traveling with more than the maximum allowed amount of liquids. This will help expedite the security check process.

X-Ray and Testing Procedures

The TSA agents will most likely put your childcare items through a separate x-ray check. This includes breast milk, juice, baby powder, and formula. 

The agents might also ask you to open the containers and remove a small portion for testing. 

Be prepared though, because if the TSA agent cannot positively confirm that your items are innocuous, they will discard them.

If you need to carry any medications with you, take only the amount you will need for the duration of the journey plus enough for one extra day in case your luggage gets lost. 

Pack the rest in your check-in luggage. Also make sure that you have a note from your pediatrician as well as your child’s prescription to show the TSA agents at the checkpoint.

If you’re traveling internationally, you will most likely not be allowed to take food items past the customs checkpoint, even if they’re for childcare. 

Read up on the regulations specific to the country you’re traveling to. As long as the items you’re taking are commercially produced, packed, and sealed, you should be able to take them into a foreign country in your check-in luggage.