Before we continue, I know what you’re thinking: “She must be a first-time mom.”
Guilty! When it comes to my eight-month-old daughter, Lily, I Google just about everything — or ask my mom. But this time my search results didn’t satisfy me. (Sorry, mom.)
Probably fine? What kind of reaction? Crying — or even worse — hearing loss?
I understand everything isn’t black and white when it comes to babies. All babies are different. But the last thing I want to do on the Fourth of July is ruin Lily’s hearing or scare her to the point of crying.
My mom thought a fireworks show would be OK from a distance, but she didn’t want us mixed up in a big crowd.
But the crowd is half of the fun, right?
That’s why I asked Facebook for help. Warning: this is where things get even more confusing.
About an hour later, my timeline lit up with different answers.
“Kids don’t really appreciate fireworks or Christmas lights until much later,” my high school drama teacher wrote. “They do enjoy being around the family who is enjoying them though.”
My cousin, Jason, simply replied ‘Nope!”
To him babies and fireworks displays, shouldn’t mix.
“She’s too young to understand the loud noises,” he said. “Plus crowds can be difficult to navigate with a toddler.”
My daughter isn’t a toddler yet, but I totally see his point. Lily comes with a lot of luggage. Her stroller, diaper bag and car seat are a lot to deal with in a crowd. But I still want her to experience the magic of seeing fireworks for the first time.
My biggest concern is connected to noise not nuisance bugs or people. A few friends suggested headphones. Still, I wanted to be sure the show would be safe for Lily, which is why I asked a doctor for help.
Dr. Elizabeth Babusis, a pediatrician at St. Elizabeth Hospital, offered this advice for parents concerned about noise.
“A fireworks show can be safe for a baby as long as parents are following some common sense guidelines,” Babusis said. “Don’t sit too close to the lighting area where it can be loud and there is a greater threat of debris falling. Toddlers are often more worrisome because they can walk around and pick up debris that could still be hot. Overall, it comes down to good supervision during the fireworks display when out with children.”
Babusis knows babies. Facebook suggested headphones. My mother wants us to stay away from big crowds. Now, I have to make a decision.
Cara Anthony is a reporter at the Belleville News-Democrat. In an occasional column, she will discuss life as a first-time mom, millennial drama and holidays in the metro-east.