Should You Take Your Baby to the Movies?

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As parents, we can't indulge in the things we used to at our leisure. 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 OK to take your weeks-old baby to the movies?


Yes, it can be safe to take your baby to the movies—and it'll be good for you, too! 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 still 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 toward babies.

They may want to touch and hold and hover—but that's how babies, who are particularly susceptible to germs, can 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 and wipe down armrests.

Consider what kind of movie you're going to see. Some theaters and films are noisier than others. And it's definitely possible for the noise levels to reach dangerous levels. Choose a movie that is less intense and likely to more dialog and fewer explosions.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, for infants, a noise level that exceeds 50 decibels is of concern. Some movies, such as action movies, can have a sustained level of 85 decibels or more.

Consider how sensitive your baby is 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 brighter theaters. That also means there will be children and moms and dads, so a little noise from your baby is much less likely to bother anyone.

What to Bring

Be sure to bring lots of "soothers," like a pacifier, a bottle, a blanket, etc. If you're still 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 may become irritated when parents bring babies to movie theaters. You could be in for some 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.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Hugh SC, Wolter NE, Propst EJ, Gordon KA, Cushing SL, Papsin BC. Infant Sleep Machines and Hazardous Sound Pressure Levels. Pediatrics. 2014;133(4):677-681. doi:10.1542/peds.2013-3617

  2. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Loud Noise Dangers.

By Stephanie Brown
Stephanie Brown is a parenting writer with experience in the Head Start program and in NAEYC accredited child care centers.