Speed Reads

Tiny Troublemaker

Secret Service responds after White House fence is breached by toddler

The U.S. Secret Service sprung into action on Tuesday to stop a pint-sized intruder at the White House: a toddler that had wriggled his way through the executive mansion's fence. 

Officers with the Secret Service's Uniformed Division, who are responsible for protecting the White House, "encountered a curious young visitor along the White House north fence line who briefly entered White House grounds," Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said. "The White House security systems instantly triggered Secret Service officers and the toddler and parents were quickly reunited."

The boy's parents were standing alongside Pennsylvania Avenue when the incident occurred, according to The Associated Pressand they were quickly questioned by Secret Service before being allowed to leave. No other details about the toddler or his parents were provided. 

In recent years, security concerns have caused the Secret Service to double the height of the fence around the White House, with AP noting the barrier now stands 13 feet tall. However, this taller fence also has an additional inch of space between its pickets, which may have allowed the toddler the room to squeeze through. 

This may have been the first successful intrusion of the White House grounds since the fence was heightened, but this is not the first time a toddler has made their way into the complex. In 2014, a toddler forced the White House into a lockdown after squeezing through the fence, with the Secret Service telling CNN, "We were going to wait until he learned to talk to question him, but in lieu of that he got a timeout and was sent on the way." 

Some intruders have had more sinister intentions, though. That same year, a man with a knife jumped the fence and made it all the way into the East Room of the White House before being stopped.