Video posted on YouTube showed 6-year-old Anna Drexel being patted down by a TSA agent at Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans. The gloved agent talked her through it, saying that she will use the back of her hands on sensitive areas and will "put my hand in the waistband."
The girl's father, Todd Drexel, said Anna was confused by the search and started crying afterward because she thought she'd done something wrong.
In an exclusive interview with ABC's "Good Morning America," mother Selena Drexel said such searches are inappropriate for children because they're usually told not to let adults touch them in sensitive areas. The Drexels said pat-downs are inappropriate for children and the TSA needs to change how it screens them.
"There needs to be different screening procedures, especially for children," said Drexel. "And if we don't find other ways, we're making them more vulnerable to people that would harm them in that manner."
In a statement, the TSA said the officer followed proper procedure but that the agency is reviewing its screening policies for "low-risk populations, such as young passengers." The statement said the agency is exploring ways to "move beyond a one-size fits all system."
The Associated Press contributed to this story