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X-ray scanners at airports: how can I avoid dd getting an unnecessary dose of radiation?

(128 Posts)
intermittentrain Wed 27-Jul-11 13:56:47

Dd is 13 and wants to fly alone to France to join a friend's family. I don't want her to have to go through the X-ray security scanners because I don't think she should have a dose of radiation when it's not medically necessary or in the interests of her health in any way.

We've been looking at airports outside of London which don't have the scanners. Or we could drive her over.

How does this scanning work? As I understand it, not all passengers are scanned, but if they call you for scanning and you refuse, you are grounded, ie you can't fly and you lose your ticket money. If necessary, we could take that risk; but dd would have to have the guts to say, no, I'm not doing it, and we would then drive her over.

What do other people do, please?

RockinSockBunnies Wed 27-Jul-11 14:00:47

Are you talking about the normal, walk through scanners at all airports? Don't all airports have such scanners?

Honestly, I think you're hugely overreacting. Has she never flown anywhere before? What about radiation from mobile phones, microwaves etc?

Do you have any evidence as to why her health would be at any kind of risk from this? Or that any risks are posed?

MindtheGappp Wed 27-Jul-11 14:01:01

Of all the things to worry about.

Everyone is scanned.

To minimise the risk of having to be rescanned, try not to wear anything with metal, eg no underwired bras, metal buttons, heavy jewellery. You have to remove belts.

sancerrre Wed 27-Jul-11 14:02:24

The dose of radiation is tiny and far less than you are exposed to during the plane journey itself. So nothing to worry about.

feckwit Wed 27-Jul-11 14:03:35

I think the benefits of the experience abroad will totally outweigh any possible (and incredibly small) negatives from the airport scanners through which several million children pass through every year.

So I would stop stressing!

Ripeberry Wed 27-Jul-11 14:04:26

Do some airports not have those scanners that can see everything on and in your body? Like a bag scanner. Or have those not even started to be used.
The basic walk through doorway scanner is OK.

nightcat Wed 27-Jul-11 14:05:09

not everyone is scanned, it's the metal detectors, diff waves; x-ray scanner is a cubicle, not a frame

I believe you can opt out ask to be hand-searched, I know a family who do that when travelling together.

thestringcheeseincident Wed 27-Jul-11 14:06:33

Let her go and enjoy her holiday.

LIZS Wed 27-Jul-11 14:07:04

It isn't an xray anyway initially , it is a metal detector. You remove shoes and any metal items (includign keys, phone, belt ) into a box and this with your hand luggage goes through the xray scanner. passenges apss through the metal detector and if you trigger it , you are asked to check what may be in your pockets (keys etc) and are frisked if it goes off again. Whatever precautions you take in UK French airports can be stricter.

MindtheGappp Wed 27-Jul-11 14:21:39

No, the walk through scanners do not use x-rays. They detect changes in a magnetic field.

Dorje Wed 27-Jul-11 14:26:47

He first trip away from you, yes? DD is 13....

TBH with you I do think you are being fearful about a threat that doesn't exist - perhaps to distract you about your anxiety about your Dd going away from you?

Maybe you need to acknowledge you have separation anxiety and stop fretting about the big bad machines in the airport?

Drive her over by all means, but not because of the scanners in the airport, but rather to assuage your own anxiety, (which a certain amount is allowed BTW smile, DD=13, first trip away...).

My worry is that you are geting your DD caught up in your anxiety: "but dd would have to have the guts to say, no, I'm not doing it" my emphasis - what's that about really?

I do hope that you're not transferring your unhealthy level of anxiety to your DD by getting her all wound up about the negligible risk of the scan machines, and enrolling her to get some guts to play along with your anxieties.

intermittentrain Wed 27-Jul-11 14:52:12

Ripeberry and Nightcat, of course I am happy for her to go through the doorwary metal scanners.

I am not happy for her to go into the X-ray cubicle to be X-rayed when she's only going to France!

I know in America you can avoid being X-rayed by asking for a pat-down search. But AFAIK you can't get a pat-down in UK airports (and it's only Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester that have them). If you could request a hand search, then there would be no problem.

Do French airports also use X-ray scanners? I don't think they do.

sunnydee Wed 27-Jul-11 14:56:49

Well, make sure she doesn't have any metal on her when she goes through the walk through thing then.

intermittentrain Wed 27-Jul-11 14:57:59

Nightcat, are you sure the family you know who opt out do so in British airports? I know that's the advice given to families for US airports, but my understanding is that you just can't do that in the UK ones, whatever your age, or even if you're pregnant.

It's not right, and I'm sure it will have to be changed, but for the moment, them's the rules.

intermittentrain Wed 27-Jul-11 14:58:41

Do they only send you over to the X-ray cubicle if you set off the metal detector, sunnydee?

KatieMiddleton Wed 27-Jul-11 15:07:41

Are you serious? Better not go to Cornwall either. All that low level radiation...

Go on, unwrap her from the cotton wool! grin

LIZS Wed 27-Jul-11 15:07:58

It is very unusual to get pulled over for anything other than a frisk evenif you trigger the alarm . I really doubt they would xray an unaccompanied minor.

sunnydee Wed 27-Jul-11 15:09:51

I often set the thing off just with earrings or something, and have only ever been frisked, never x rayed and I d o a lot of flying.

intermittentrain Wed 27-Jul-11 15:10:19

I think they call you over if you look like a terrorist. hmm

Dd, happily, doesn't look like any kind of terrorist. However, obviously children sometimes are used by terrorists precisely because no-one thinks they would be used in that way: that's why children aren't excluded.

stupefy Wed 27-Jul-11 15:11:45

Have you mentioned these fears to your -- psychiatrist-- Dr ?

intermittentrain Wed 27-Jul-11 15:13:03

I do understand that the risk of her being called over to be X-rayed is very small; I'm glad to hear you've never been X-rayed, sunnydee.

I'm trying to find out from families who do fly much more than us - and there are plenty of them - what actually happens. The X-ray scanners are very new.

tiggyhop Wed 27-Jul-11 15:15:14

Chances of having car crash = very high.

"risk" (of anything) from scanner = negligible.

intermittentrain Wed 27-Jul-11 15:15:14

Seriously, though, Dorje and stupefy, do you allow your kids to be X-rayed willy-nilly by people who aren't even radiologists?

LizzieMint73 Wed 27-Jul-11 15:15:14

Intermittent, you should look at:

The important point is that:

'This means an air passenger flying at 35,000ft receives in about 1 minute the same level of dose as delivered by the scanner'

But please don't worry, the risk really is vanishingly small

KatieMiddleton Wed 27-Jul-11 15:15:20

What does a terrorist look like? Do they have a look? What's trending for the terrorist look this A/W?

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