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April 3, 2003

Insulin Pumps, Traveling

Question from Wakarusa, Indiana, USA:

We never had any problems when my son was on shots, but we will travel for the first time with his pump. Do you have travel guidelines for traveling with an insulin pump?


We have a general page about Flying With Diabetes that includes these tips:
Notify screeners if you’re wearing an insulin pump and ask if they will visually inspect the pump since it cannot be removed from your person.
Insulin pumps and supplies must be accompanied by insulin with professionally printed labels described above.

With that said, it has been our personal experience, traveling with my daughter who wears an insulin pump, that you need do nothing special. My daughter has never pointed out her pump. When going through airport security, she removes all metal from her person — especially medical identification products — and walks through the metal detector. I don’t recall her insulin pump ever setting off the detector.

During a recent trip, the inspectors had a question about something in our carry-on bag that was filled with diabetes supplies (test strips, lancets, pen needles, pump supplies, etc.). After two trips through the X-ray machine, we discovered the item that was causing the concern: two foil-wrapped anti-nausea suppositories. The foil was shaped such that it looked like a knife blade.