I'd like to think I was prepared for a lot prior to parenthood but one thing that totally blindsided me was how often absolute strangers will come up and smile at and coo at and touch a baby that they don't know. They especially like to touch the hands (which we all know will soon end up in the baby's mouth). I will not recount here my 1st reaction. Suffice it to say that my temper and poor reaction are the reason for this question.

What is an appropriate response to strangers who touch your child when you do not want them to? Bonus: are there reasonable steps that can be taken to prevent this?

For clarification: I am talking about people who I assume are well-meaning. But I am still very uncomfortable at this idea. My protective instincts go into hyper-drive. Not to mention being germ conscious during the cold and flu season.

asked 19 Oct '09, 19:10

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

edited 27 Feb '10, 20:00

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Scott ♦♦


Totally hear where you are coming from here! We once had a stranger give our 2 week old baby a kiss on the cheek! Even now I tense up when I think about that..

(21 Oct '09, 02:13) Scott Ferguson

I always just ask nicely not to touch the baby. Sometimes I get a dirty look but most of the time the person understands. When you have cute kids everyone wants to touch them. I never touch strangers babies so I don't know why other people do.

Something else that is very hard to keep away is other kids. Kids try getting right in babies/toddlers faces and hug and kiss them EVEN if they are strangers. Watch out for the kids!!


answered 19 Oct '09, 20:04

Mommy%20trial%20and%20error's gravatar image

Mommy trial and error
accept rate: 4%

Eek! I haven't yet come across kids doing this. Thanks for the warning

(19 Oct '09, 20:07) Dinah

Yes, watch out for kids!! They are quick and go straight for touching the face. I'm always deflecting by gently pulling their hands away and saying "Oh, babies don't like their faced touched." Sometimes if I know the kid I'll let them touch my baby's feet, just so next time maybe they'll go for the feet.

(19 Oct '09, 21:31) Sabrina

We've noticed the wait-staff at restaurants do this a lot, which is kind of expected, but once the waitress completely ignored us while she was doing it, which seemed odd/comical at the time.

Mostly we just let it happen, even though it certainly seems to cross the line of what we would ever do. We figure if she's going to get sick from anywhere, it's likely daycare anyway. We've considered zipping her in a bubble, but it's not practical.


answered 19 Oct '09, 20:54

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Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

I want as few people touching my baby as possible. Too many germs. If someone reaches in, say "Oh please don't touch. He/she has been sick and I wouldn't want you to catch anything."


answered 20 Oct '09, 05:32

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Jeremy Ross
accept rate: 20%


I find this is the best way to get the desired result without offence. You will probably even get thanked for it. :)

(21 Oct '09, 02:09) Scott Ferguson

I actually use the swine flu as an excuse to politely tell them not to touch him, never had any problem with anyone, all were very understanding.

At home (where they are not strangers) nobody touches him without first washing their hands.


answered 19 Oct '09, 19:15

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

I think Juan and Mummy Trial&Error have made all the points I was going to say but here is my check list too!

  1. Use latest epidemic or pandemic to ward off potential baby fans
  2. Keep an eye out for over friendly children, use the measles or chickenpox as an excuse if parents are not interested in holding back their kids.
  3. Carry a hand sterilizer / disinfectant with you at all times.
  4. Buy a nice hat and sunglasses so you can disguise the cuteness of your child.

answered 19 Oct '09, 20:53

Emi's gravatar image

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"Oh, are you leprosy immune?"


answered 20 Oct '09, 16:11

brj's gravatar image

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Hahahaha, that's even better than, "be careful, she bites."

(20 Oct '09, 16:15) Dinah

Warning: Next eruption - 5 minutes.

(20 Oct '09, 19:04) mkcoehoorn

I would have to agree with Scott on this one! People are so interested in babies and can't keep their hands to themselves (Unfortunately). Thankfully people stop touching your child when they are toddlers (even if they are still cute!)!!


answered 20 Oct '09, 01:08

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Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

Most people realize that toddlers bite, and throw punches at groin level!

(31 Jan '10, 09:41) Neen

It is really bad in the grocery store. I am stopped all the time....most people are good about not touching her, and just talk to her and make her laugh. I have one neighbor down the hall from us that just can't seem to stop touching her, and yes always the hands. Today we were so mad, our baby was asleep after a long drive today, and she was waking up a little bit from taking her out of the car, but knew she would fall back to sleep while we carried her up. This neighbor of ours, was coming up at the same time, and started talking to her very loudly. My husband said, shh...she is sleeping. This lady said, no she is not, and continued to talk to her. Our daughter then started crying. My husband just said, Thanks a lot!!


answered 08 Nov '09, 07:14

Betsy's gravatar image

accept rate: 2%

This kills me too - I once had a woman try to kiss my 4 month old on the face at an airport and I had a heart attack. I grabbed her and pulled her off my child and she looked at me like I was the crazy one! All I have ever managed to do is try and be proactive and as someone approaches say 'please don't touch' and smile. If its another kid I have no problem physically stopping the other kid from coming in contact with mine. I am especially vigilant during the winter months with flu and RSV season.


answered 08 Nov '09, 05:20

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

It is definitely inadvertent, since I don't have a problem with people touching my child, but I always carry my son in an infant carrier when we are shopping, walking, or doing whatever it is we do when we are in public, and I've never had any stranger perform one of these "horror stories". If your baby is in a car seat or stroller, strangers are free to get right in there, but if the baby is being "worn" by you, the stranger has to ask you to see the child, at which point you can answer without the unexpected protective reaction that startles strangers. Also, they would have to get awfully close to my face and/or my chest in order to kiss him or touch his hands.


answered 16 Nov '09, 05:11

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accept rate: 5%

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Asked: 19 Oct '09, 19:10

Seen: 5,927 times

Last updated: 27 Feb '10, 20:00