Should You Take Your Baby to the Movies?

What to Know Before You Go to the Movies with a Baby

Family watching TV together
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As parents, we can't indulge in the things we used to. Spontaneous trips to the mall or movies, which were once relatively ho-hum activities, suddenly become luxuries. Parents of newborns especially who have been holed up in the house for weeks might find themselves going stir crazy, desperate to get outside and do something like go to the movies, but what happens when you've got a newborn baby in tow?

Is it safe to take your weeks-old baby to the movies?

It can be safe to take your baby to the movies, and it'll be good for you! Parents complain all the time about missing new movies they want to see. Sure, it's cheaper to wait until everything comes out on DVD or Netflix, but now is the best time to take your baby to the theater. Think about it: Your baby is content to be in your lap, sling or carrier for these few precious months. In a few more, they will be struggling to get down, crawl and run the aisles. But there are a few things to keep in mind before you take your infant to the movie theater. 

Before You Go

Be vigilant about germs. As is the case with any public place, a movie theater acts like an incubator for germs. Keep your baby away from strangers' hands, coughs, sneezes, etc. Everyone gravitates towards babies. They want to touch and hold and hover, but that's how babies, who are particularly susceptible to germs, get sick.

Don't allow this to happen and don't feel bad about protecting your baby from illness. Bring hand sanitizer and wipes to clean hands, wipe down arm rests.

Consider what kind of move you're going to see. Some theaters and films are noisier than others. It is possible for the noise levels to reach dangerous levels.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, for infants, a noise level that exceeds 45 decibels is of concern1, and some movies, such as action movies, can have a sustained level of 90 decibels. Choose a movie that is less intense and likely to more dialog and less explosions. In addition, consider how sensitive your baby us to noise. If they're very sensitive, you might end up spending more time outside the theater soothing a crying child instead of watching the movie.

Look for theaters that offer special sensory showings. Some movie theaters now offer sensory-friendly movies during the afternoons. These are a great option to bring a baby to, as they are geared toward families with lower volume and a brighter theaters. That also means there will be children and moms and dads, so a little noise from your baby is unlikely to bother anyone. 

What to Bring

Be sure to bring lots of "soothers," like a pacifier, a bottle, a blanket, etc. If you're nursing, try to plan your movie so that it's time for a feeding and nap about 15 to 30 minutes into the show.

That gives you time to get settled in and allows for plenty of time to relax and enjoy the movie while your baby eats and sleeps.

While You're There

Keep in mind that some people become very irritated when parents bring babies into movie theaters. You could be in for some pretty nasty looks should your baby make even the slightest peep. Taking a baby into a theater is kind of like taking a baby onto an airplane. People are already expecting the worst.

If you're worried about this or just want to be among other parents with kids, try checking your area for theaters that cater to parents. Call your local movie theater and ask if they have special showings or any parent programs like this setup.

1 http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/100/4/724

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