CBS/AP: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the government will be rolling out a different airport pat-down policy for children under 12 in the coming months, and these children will no longer have to take off their shoes to be screened.
Napolitano says the traveling public can expect to see some of these changes in the coming months.
Some travelers and privacy advocates have complained that children, who don't appear to pose terror threats, are subject to intimate pat-downs that involve Transportation Security Administration screeners touching private areas.
Children under 12 will also be spared the hassle of taking off their shoes as they go through check point security, Napolitano said.
Napolitano was speaking at a Senate hearing Tuesday on the terror threat to the United States.
Last week, the Homeland Security Secretary told POLITICO that the shoe-removal rule may be ending for people in general, although she gave no timetable of when the policy will change.
"We are moving towards an intelligence and risk-based approach to how we screen," Napolitano told POLITCO's Mike Allen at the time. "I think one of the first things you will see over time is the ability to keep your shoes on. One of the last things you will [see] is the reduction or limitation on liquids."
Previous pat-downs of kids were met with criticism. Earlier this year, CBS News reported the case of a 6-year-old who went through an intense pat-down through security at New Orleans' Louis Armstrong International Airport.
"A 6-year-old child shouldn't be subjected to this kind of treatment in the first place if there's no reason to suspect her or her parents of being criminals," Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU Louisiana, told CBS affiliate WWL New Orleans, at the time of the incident.
Shortly after that incident was a photograph alleging a TSA agent was giving a baby a pat-down at an airport in Kansas City. A spokesman wrote on the TSA blog that officers followed proper procedures and that the child in the photo received a "modified pat-down."
During a transportation security hearing by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, John Pistole of the TSA had said the agency has been working on a new policy for the use of pat-downs on children.