It's 4th of July weekend and we all know what that means: fireworks! When it comes to babies and fireworks, parents want to share the excitement of this 4th of July tradition in the safest way possible. Here are some tips to get the most out of taking your baby to see the fireworks this year:
Protect baby's ears during loud noises
Ear protection is top priority for conscientious parents, and for good reason! Babies and fireworks can be a dangerous combo if precautions are not taken to protect baby's sensitive ears. When we asked Memphis audiologist Sarah Dawkins of Memphis Hearing Aid and Audiological Services for her suggestions for ear protection and if there was a better way than the old hands-over-ears method, she said:
Yes! Your best bet is baby earmuffs on a headband or on a wide, soft elastic band. In general, all sounds that are loud to adults are even louder to babies due to the way sound is amplified through their tiny ear canals (up to 4x as loud for infants!). If it's uncomfortable for you, it's even worse for your baby, so focus on distancing yourself from any fireworks as much as you possibly can.
But what if you've run out of time to get a pair of fancy earmuffs? Not to worry! Sarah also suggested silicone earplugs that are readily available at local drugstores. She also assured us that these are perfectly safe for babies:
Silicone plugs are preferable to foam because if used correctly they do not push down into the ear canal. Please follow the directions for these earplugs! Rather than fitting down in the ear like the yellow or orange foam throw away plugs you've seen your whole life, the silicone plugs stay on the outside of the ear to form a tight seal, barely entering the opening of the ear canal.
If you are concerned about silicone earplugs staying in, Sarah also suggested an elastic earband- also available at drugsores- to discourage babies and small children from pulling them out.
Babywearing for crowds and comfort
Sometimes the best place to watch the fireworks isn't a place that is stroller-friendly. Babywearing can help you maneuver crowds with ease and has the added bonus of keeping your baby close. If your baby does get upset, they are already in the most comforting place possible: in mom or dad's arms. Babywearing also puts your baby up higher so that they have a better view of the fireworks. Secure your baby in your Ergo, Tula, Moby Wrap, or other carrier of choice and enjoy the fireworks hands-free!
Choose a location that allows you some flexibility
If you've never brought your baby to a fireworks display before, consider choosing a location that is far enough from the action to see, but also close enough to make an exit if your baby finds the fireworks overwhelming. If you can find a place where you can see them from your car, that's an even bigger bonus! Adequate snacks for all are a given, but if you are breastfeeding, make sure that you stay hydrated in all the hustle and bustle. All of the lights and sounds can be overstimulating for a baby, so having an exit strategy in mind will allow you to relax and enjoy. Hopefully your baby is as delighted by the show as you are!