Do Babies, Toddlers and Kids Need Tickets for MLB Games?

Attending a Major League Baseball game is a quintessential American tradition. As baseball season kicks off each spring, one of the first questions on parents’ minds is whether infants and toddlers need their own tickets for MLB games.

It’s a common point of confusion since rules vary between ballparks. This complete guide will cover everything families need to know about bringing little ones to professional baseball games.

MLB Infant Ticket Policies Vary by Team

There is no standard policy across Major League Baseball for infant and toddler ticketing. Each individual team sets their own guidelines on whether babies and young children need purchased tickets.

This means you cannot assume all stadiums follow the same rules. Policies differ from team to team based on factors like age, height, and seating sections.

However, some common guidelines emerge:

  • Most teams allow kids 2 years and younger to enter games for free without a ticket. They simply sit on an adult’s lap.
  • Many teams extend free entry to children under 3 or 4 years if sitting on a guardian’s lap without their own seat.
  • Several stadiums go by height rather than age. For instance, kids shorter than 30-36 inches often get in free.
  • The New York Yankees have one of the most flexible policies, admitting kids under 4 years old OR 30 inches tall for free.

The takeaway? Don’t guess whether your kids need tickets. Always check your specific team’s infant and child ticket policy before heading to the ballpark. Policies should be clearly posted on each MLB club’s website.

Why Do Some Kids Need Tickets When Infants Don’t?

If a child is big enough to occupy their own seat, MLB teams require them to have a purchased ticket just like other fans. Toddler and kids tickets are priced similarly to adult tickets.

Infants are generally admitted free since parents or guardians will hold them. Letting babies in for free makes it easier for families with infants to attend games.

Older toddlers and kids who need their own seat essentially take up space that could be sold to other fans. So teams recoup potential lost revenue by requiring tickets for children no longer sitting in laps.

8 Tips for Bringing Babies, Toddlers, and Kids to MLB Games

Aside from ticketing, what else should parents know about bringing little ones to major league ballparks? Here are 8 key tips to ensure your crew has a fun and smooth game day:

1. Scout Stadium Policies

Always verify your home team’s child ticketing policies, bag restrictions, plus nursing and stroller rules before heading out. This avoids surprises at the gate when it’s too late to run back to the car.

2. Pack Essentials

Bring all needed baby and kid supplies like bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, change of clothes, snacks, medicine, nursing cover, etc. Check permitted bag sizes and banned items beforehand.

3. Protect Little Ears

Invest in child-sized ear protection headphones so loud cheering won’t damage young hearing. Sound levels can easily exceed maximum volumes for infants.

4. Apply Sunscreen

Lather up kids with SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen before going into the stadium. Reapply every 2 hours to prevent painful burns.

5. Have Entertainment

Pack books, small toys, coloring books and devices to distract antsy toddlers if they lose interest in the game. An hour or two of sitting still can try little ones’ patience.

6. Get Tracking Bracelets

Obtain free kid safety wristbands from guest services with your seat number. This allows quick reunification if young children get lost in the crowds.

7. Scope Out Kid Zones

Many stadiums offer special playgrounds, activities, concessions and clubs designed just for pint-sized fans. Check your ballpark’s unique offerings.

8. Leave Early If Needed

Don’t hesitate to make an early exit if kids get fussy, overwhelmed or have a meltdown. Their experience trumps sticking it out for 9 innings.

Kids Clubs, Promotions and Giveaways for Young Fans

Major League teams provide awesome perks to entertain and reward their littlest loyal fans. Here’s a look at popular kids offerings:

Official Kids Clubs

Over half of MLB franchises offer structured kids clubs that parents can sign up for, usually for an annual fee around $0-$50 per child. Common kids club perks include:

  • Official kids club jersey, T-shirt or other branded gear
  • Ticket vouchers good for 2-4 free games
  • Early ballpark entry privileges for members
  • Invites to exclusive player events and meet-and-greets
  • Discounts on concessions like kids meals or ice cream
  • Special membership gifts like backpacks, water bottles or bobbleheads

Check your favorite team’s website for details on joining their official kids club. Most open signups online and at the ballpark.

Family Promotions

Teams run frequent family-focused ballpark promotions like:

  • Kids eat free days or discounted kids meals
  • Post-game kids run the bases events
  • Free admission for kids under 12 with one paying adult
  • Annual kids days with free activities and player interactions
  • Princess Days, Superhero Days and other theme days for kids

Again, see your home team’s promotional schedule for upcoming kid-targeted specials.

Kids Giveaways

Many clubs hold giveaways – often simple logo items like shirts, hats, or collectibles – specifically for younger fans. Ask if quantities are limited and if age limits apply for certain giveaways.

Top 5 Most Kid-Friendly MLB Ballparks

Some franchises excel at catering to pint-sized fans with next-level amenities. Here are 5 of the most family-friendly Major League stadiums to check out:

1. Cincinnati Reds – Great American Ball Park

Great American lives up to its name with a free kids zone hosting a carousel and family games. Kids 14 and under ride the carousel free on Sundays. Awesome kids clubs too.

2. Detroit Tigers – Comerica Park

Comerica Park houses a free Ferris wheel and carousel by the Big Cat food court for unlimited rides. Plus a large club with merch and events for kids.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks – Chase Field

Chase Field’s outfield features a pool, playground, arcade and wiffle ball field just for kids. Sunday games end with kids run the bases.

4. San Diego Padres – Petco Park

Petco Park’s raved about family-friendly layout includes an outfield beach playground perfect for kids to roam.

5. New York Mets – Citi Field

Citi Field offers a kids club, $7 kids meals, and a Mets team store stocked with pint-sized jerseys, clothes and gear for little fans.

Making Kid Baseball Memories: 6 Pro Tips

To ensure your whole crew makes lasting memories, keep these handy pro tips in mind:

  • Arrive early – Gates opening time lets kids play before crowds pack in.
  • Sit near aisles – For easy exit access when kids need snack or bathroom breaks.
  • BYO kid glove – Attempt catches for fly balls and foul balls.
  • Take regular breaks – Change of scenery helps restless kids reset.
  • Have an early exit plan – If kids have a meltdown, don’t force a long miserable stay.
  • Capture photos and buy souvenirs – Commemorate the day through pics and kid-sized gear.

Most importantly, just relax and soak up the special time together watching America’s favorite pastime! Introducing kids to beloved baseball rituals builds lifelong fans.

The Bottom Line: Enjoy Affordable Family Bonding

The bottom line is that MLB’s variable kid ticketing policies make games accessible for families on a budget. A little planning and a few supplies will ensure your crew makes treasured memories.

Baseball games offer the perfect opportunity to pass American traditions down to the next generation. Try to focus more on making memories than micromanaging behavior. Before you know it, your tiny rookie will grow into a batting MVP!

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