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When Can I Take My Newborn Out in Public?

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When is it OK to take a newborn to public places? What about letting other people near my baby? I'm worried about infections.
Nancy

There are no set rules about how long to wait before taking a newborn out into the world or when to let people near the baby. Some doctors recommend that parents wait until their baby is a few months old before going to crowded public places (like malls, movie theaters, and airplanes).

If the weather is nice, you should feel free to take your baby outside whenever you feel up to it — you both would both probably enjoy a stroll outside and some fresh air! Just be sure your baby is dressed for the weather.

A newborn’s immune system is still developing and may not be able to fight off infections. When you are out and about, avoid exposing your newborn to anyone who looks sick. And ask anyone who holds, touches, or feeds your newborn to wash their hands first.

If you live in an area with a high rate of COVID-19 infections, you might want to ask people to wear a mask around your baby, especially if they aren't vaccinated against COVID-19. Do not put a mask on your baby or any other child younger than 2 years old.

It's important to make sure your baby's routine vaccines are up to date. Everyone in the household should get all recommended vaccines to protect the baby (and themselves), including the yearly flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots. Your doctor may advise you to take extra precautions if your child was born early or has a condition that affects the immune system, like HIV.

If you have any questions, talk to your doctor.

Date reviewed: October 2022