Why can’t parents just put their hands on their baby’s mouth to stop them from making loud noises when crying in movie theatres and airplanes?


I have always wondered this but never wanted to directly ask a parent as it could come off rude.

It makes sense to me though, like when people cover each other’s mouth’s in movies to muffle whatever sound they’re making.

Edit: I would just like to say that I would never try this, I was just curious!

In: Biology

Suffocation for one thing, babies can’t control their breathing like children and up. So when you snuff a baby like that you are likely to seriously injure or kill the child.

Baby is crying for a reason. Putting your hand over their mouth does nothing to address the underlying reason and is more likely to make baby even more upset. This kind of approach would be significantly more mentally draining that parenting already is.

> like when people cover each other’s mouth’s in movies to muffle whatever sound they’re making.

That’s not normal behaviour. In fact, that’s assaulting someone.

Now, to address the question about the baby. Covering a baby’s mouth to stop it communicating is a pretty abusive behaviour. The baby would be crying for a reason. The real question regarding parents taking babies to the movies is why they think everyone else wants to deal with their baby?


Because an adult would understand if you put a hand over their mouth you’re trying to ask them to be quiet, and they should oblige (usually, unless they’re in mortal danger). A baby or small child does not understand this, does not understand social graces, and does not care if other people don’t want to hear what they have to say. In other words, shutting up when someone puts a hand over your mouth is learned behaviour.

It doesn’t work. Or, at least, not as much as you might think. It doesn’t stop them from *trying* to make noise. As others have said, whatever is causing them to cry doesn’t go away just because you covered their mouth. So they keep making noise. And your hand isn’t particularly good at muffling sound if the person you’re covering is *trying* to make noise.

And you piss them off…so they cry more, louder, and longer.

And, usually, they don’t have enough control to regulate between nose-breathing and mouth-breathing and they’re snotty (because they’re crying) so if you actually seal over their mouth you’ll suffocate them.

And even if you can sort of muffle it with your hand without suffocating them, they will try to squirm away (because you’re blocking their mouth)…so the only way to keep your hand in position is hold them really tight. Which makes them more mad, louder, and makes them fight back harder, so you have to hold them tighter, so they get madder, so…you get the idea.

Source: have four kids. Have tried this on airplanes. Zero stars, do not recommend.

By *far* the fastest way to resolve the problem is remove them from the situation (movie theater) or figure out why they’re crying and fix that (airplanes, movie theaters after you’re out in the hall).

Oh boy. If you think putting your hand over a babys mouth will quiet them you’ve got another thing coming.

I hope you never have kids.

Think back to a time when you were angry and yelling – if someone put their hand over your mouth would that have calmed you down?

It simply doesn’t work.

When I was a *very* new father my baby suddenly started crying loudly in the middle of a wedding I was attending (my wife was a bridesmaid). I tried putting my hand over his mouth and it made absolutely no difference at all. Then a totally unknown woman sitting next to me just picked him up and held him. He stopped immediately.