Fireworks and Your Newborn: How to Have an Enjoyable 4th of July Celebration
Summertime: Watermelon juice drips down your chin, the pool water feels refreshing after an hour in the sun, and the celebrations abound, particularly on the Fourth of July. New parents may be hesitant about packing up and heading out for a nighttime show in the sky, but they needn't be. With a few preparations prior to party time, your newborn should be just fine.
Many new parents worry about the safety of a fireworks display. We all know to stay a safe distance away from any type of explosives – even those set off in the driveway – but if you're concerned the noise or lights may harm your newborn's health, you needn't be. Dr. Charles Shubin, Director of Pediatrics at Mercy Family Care and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland in Baltimore says, “The lights are usually far enough away to not be physically harmful, but might be quite scary to young kids. The noise, while certainly loud, shouldn't be loud enough to harm an infant's hearing, assuming a safe distance between the fireworks and the baby.”
Of course, you might face other festivity-related obstacles. A disruption of your baby's schedule is always sure to cause stress on the little one, and the parents. Lyss Stern, founder and president of Divalysscious Moms and co-author of
If You Give a Mom a Martini: 100 Ways to Find 10 Blissful Minutes for Yourself, says one big problem on the 4th of July for children is the later bedtime. “Most fireworks shows don't start until after it gets dark,” she says, and we all know what happens when a child's schedule – and sleep – is disrupted. Anticipate meltdowns and be proactive by putting the kids down for an extra nap beforehand if possible. “A 6:00 p.m., or even 7:00 p.m., nap (for later bedtimes) would be a good choice.”
Other tips from Stern:
- Stay back. Since fireworks aren't as scary when viewed from a distance, find a spot a few miles away. “Not only will your toddler be more likely to enjoy fireworks from far away, traffic will be lighter and the crowds will be smaller,” says Stern.
- Go prepared. “Just because your body knows that you don't have to eat late at night doesn't mean your child's body knows it. Your toddler, baby, or small child all regulate their eating based on number of hours since their last meal,” says Stern. Prepare for this by taking along healthy, filling snacks and drinks. “Make sure to have more than one sippy-cup. Chances are they'll need a refill.”
- Plan for the display ahead of time. Stern suggests knowing where you are going and where you will park before you head out for the show. “Nothing makes a small kid crankier than driving around in a car while Dad tries to find the fireworks, and then a parking space, and then a spot for sitting,” and so on, she says.