Like (probably a lot of) other parents out there, I haven't seen a fireworks display since my son was born and that's not a coincidence. The whole fireworks thing never really seemed baby-friendly to me. Now that he's two (almost three), I debated making this July 4th my son's first fireworks experience — but when I weighed all the pros and cons of taking him, I came up with a ton more cons than pros:
1. They start past bedtime
Never get between a two-year-old and his sleep. My kid skipped his nap a few days last week and all heck broke loose (calling it crankiness would be an extreme understatement — these were full-on meltdowns), so I'm not willing to risk pushing back bedtime an extra hour or two right now.
2. They're super loud
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) says that noise from exploding fireworks can top 155 decibels (dB) — that's louder than a military jet taking off — and recommends sitting at least 500 feet away from the action. Still, the idea that there's a potential for hearing loss is worrisome. The ASHA and an expert for TheBump.com recommend covering your child's ears with earmuffs (or earplugs, if they're old enough), but has anyone ever seen someone do that?
3. They might be awesome — but could be scary
My kid went through a phase earlier this year where loud noises really freaked him out. Just walking past a car-wash set him into panic mode. He seems to be getting that all loud sounds aren't scary, but this isn't something I want to test out on a crowded lawn where we can't easily escape without tripping over people's picnic baskets and lawn chairs.
4. The crowds can be crazy
And speaking of the picnic baskets and lawn chairs, I'm imagining blanket-to-blanket crowds and parking lots that take an hour to get out of — maybe even a few wild drunks. (Like I said, I haven't been to a fireworks show in a while, so I could be wrong, but this is what I envision.) That pushes back bedtime even later and ups the aggravation factor. Two things that don't mix with two-year-olds.
5. He won't miss them
My kid is still too young to know that fireworks are a 4th of July tradition — so he's not going to hold it against me that we're not going. And I think about it this way: He's much more likely to enjoy that hot dog we grill than a fireworks show, so I'm choosing junk food instead (hey, it's a holiday). Ah well, maybe next year. Enjoy your 4th everyone!
Are you taking your child to see fireworks this year? Why or why not?