Summer is finally here! As we all prepare for the biggest holiday of the summer, we wanted to take a moment to discuss America’s favorite form of celebration: Fireworks! Who doesn’t love watching fireworks?! I know our kids have always looked forward to our annual firework display, just like I did when I was a little girl. That said, it’s important to remember that fireworks, while super fun, are also dangerous by nature. On SuiteBaby Blog, we like to approach the more stressful things in life with the following motto: “If it’s scary, learn about it.” There are few things in this world that can’t be made less intimidating with a little bit of knowledge. So, get out your sparklers & ready the popsicles as we cover some ways you can celebrate with fireworks SAFELY!

Fireworks Are Not Toys

As adults, I’m sure most of us reading this are well aware of this fact. Cool as they may be, fireworks are basically tiny, pretty explosives. Safe when not lit, SUPER dangerous when they are. It goes without saying that you should definitely tell your children this information- and you will probably end up reminding them of it about 90,000 times. Even with all the reminders in the world, accidents can happen to anyone. So, here’s a few SUPER basic firework safety tips that everyone should know. 

  1. Never let children light fireworks or play with fireworks unsupervised.
  2. Never light a firework with your hands or face (or anything else for that matter) directly over the flame. 
  3. Make sure the area you are celebrating at is level and a safe distance from any structures that could catch fire; such as houses or overhanging trees (or cars!). 
  4. Any spectators should always keep a safe distance of *at least* 15 feet between themselves and any fireworks being lit. 
  5. Never re-light a firework that has “burned out” or did not ignite properly. This can often indicate a defect in manufacturing and could mean the firework is not safe to light. Instead, wait at least 60 seconds before approaching, then pour water over the firework to soak it and put out any remaining sparks or flames. 
  6. Speaking of water, you should always keep a bucket of water nearby for this exact purpose! It’s also a good idea to soak any spent fireworks before you dispose of them in any sort of trash receptacle. 
  7. In case of Emergency, keep a First Aid Kit and a charged phone handy so that you will be able to contact Emergency Services if they are needed. 

This is by no means an all inclusive Fireworks Safety List, but it’s a great start! Below are a few Parent-Specific Tips & Tricks that we’ve learned over the last decade of 4th of July Celebrations. 

Kids Under 5, Stay Within 5

A great rule of thumb at any social event with young or wandering-prone children, is to make sure they are within 5 feet of a responsible, alert adult at all times. As you have probably found out by now, little ones can be FAST and with something bright and colorful like fireworks in their sights, it wouldn’t take long for them to see an opportunity to explore and seize it. Keeping your curious little ones within reach of a responsible (sober) adult at all times is critical when trying to avoid accidents. 

Make It Fun!

For a lot of people, fireworks on their own are a fun time! But for many little ones, it can be confusing seeing all the people, colors & SOUND all at once. One easy way I found to help my son relax into the fun of it all was asking him questions about what was happening around us. “Do you see the balloons?! What colors are they?”

“How many American Flags can you see?” 

“Ooh! Look at all the fireworks! What colors are your favorites?” 

...and so on. Almost every time, this trick has saved us from what was quickly turning into a full blown meltdown. The best part about this particular tactic is that it works in almost any situation. Out at the mall? Ask them which store sign is their favorite and why! It’s a great distraction technique and can replace what could have been a less-than-pleasant experience with an educational one.

If All Else Fails, Bring On The Comfort

In our household, we pack a bag to go absolutely anywhere. Whether it’s a long grocery trip or a day at the beach, I usually keep a snack, drink, & often some form of entertainment for each of the kids. Why? I’m not going to lie- it’s partially because I am eternally frugal and would rather carry extra stuff than spend unnecessary money on things like snacks. But beyond that, as the Mother of a child with Sensory issues, I have found a few key items that make their life (AND MINE) a million times easier when we are in these kinds of situations. 

In my case, noise canceling headphones have been a game changer. It’s hard to have fun when you are intensely uncomfortable due to a pending sensory overload. Thankfully, I have found there are countless options available, with or without Bluetooth capabilities, that can help “turn down” the world around them just enough that they can actually relax and ENJOY the fireworks. 

In addition to that, if your child has a favorite Lovey Blanket or stuffed animal that brings them comfort- bring it! Even if it’s too hot for a blanket, just having it with them may be a huge source of comfort for your child and will likely help make the evening go a little smoother.

In the end, the most important thing to remember is to NEVER push your child to do more than they’re ready to do. Sometimes, regardless of all the distractions & comforts, kids just aren’t into fireworks. It doesn’t mean they’ll never be able to enjoy fireworks, just maybe not that day. And that’s okay! Try moving further away from the fireworks, where you can still see them but the “booms” are quieter. If all else fails, take everyone out for ice cream and try again next year. There’s no sense in everyone (especially YOU) suffering through a tantrum in the name of “making memories.” Those aren’t the kind of memories you want anyway. 

In the end, the 4th of July is about Celebrating America and, most importantly, HAVING FUN! We hope these tips make it easier for both you and your kids to enjoy the summer season! Tune in on July 15th when we will be taking a deep dive into the art of Traveling With Kids.  

For more information about firework safety, see our sources below:

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