The uncomfortable video has since gone viral, with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official who is shown patting down the boy receiving heavy criticism from the public.
Mum Jennifer Williamson posted the video to Facebook and wrote she was “livid” with the way the TSA agent handled the situation with her son Aaron, who she says has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).
According to SPD Australia, people with Sensory Processing Disorder misinterpret everyday sensory information, such as touch, sound and movement. They can feel overwhelmed by sensory information, seek out sensory experiences or avoid certain experiences.
She wrote: "They detained Aaron for well over an hour (and deliberately kept us from our flight...we are now on an alternate). We were treated like dogs because I requested they attempt to screen him in other ways per TSA rules. He has SPD and I didn't want my child given a pat down like this."
Williamson claimed that Aaron didn't set off any alarms as he went through security and he didn't even set off the alarm when he went through the full-body scanning machine.
"He is still several hours later saying "I don't know what I did. What did I do?'," she wrote.
The two-minute clip shows Aaron standing in a security area at the airport. The agent begins patting down the boy’s arms, back and torso before moving to the back of his shorts and the insides of his legs.
In her post, Williamson said that she wished she had filmed the entire "horrifying" exchange, claiming Aaron had two TSA agents flanking him at one stage, and she believed he was left 'traumatised' by the incident.
"Somehow these power tripping TSA agents who are traumatising children and doing whatever they feel like without any cause, need to be reined in."
According to the LA Times, the TSA quietly introduced new pat-down procedures earlier this month.
The 'universal pat-down' procedure was established including 'enhanced security measures', replacing several pat-down tactics used in the past that were understood to be less invasive.
The pat-down searches are being used on passengers who decline to go through the full-body screening machine or those who trigger a warning from the machine. TSA officers can also choose to use a pat-down search on travellers chosen at random.
Responses to Williamson's post have overwhelmingly voicing shock over the ordeal, attracting millions of views and so far more than 72,000 shares.
"Your boy handled himself so well. I wouldn't have. This is totally inhuman. He is wearing just a light tee shirt and shorts, and no alarm went off. What could he gave been hiding? Well, if they believe it's ok to handcuff a five year old, it looks this they think this is OK too. It isn't. It's abusive," wrote one commenter.
Another, who claimed to be a former employee for the Department of Corrections, added: "I never saw a pat-down done that extensive, why go back and sweep across the front back and forth makes no sense."
One labelled the video "just crazy", and questioned, "how many times did they really have to check his private area to understand he had nothing on him?"
Mamamia has reached out to both Williamson and the TSA for comment, but responses had not been received at the time of publishing.