Managing Babies And Fireworks: Sleep, Events & Celebrations

Author Image By Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH •  Updated: 03/06/24 •  Sleep / Sleep Tips

Babies and fireworks are a combination that needs careful consideration, especially around holiday dates such as the 4th of July, Guy Fawkes Night and New Year’s!

But how you handle this combination depends on various factors… Like baby’s age, sensitivity, and your family’s dynamic.

In today’s article, I will help you decide the best plan of action to help your baby sleep during fireworks, what to do when your baby is scared by the displays, and how to safely allow them to watch fireworks (if that’s what you’d like to do).

With the celebrations right around the corner, here’s how to prepare your little one for fireworks!

Babies and Fireworks Featured

A Foreword About Babies And Fireworks

Many babies find fireworks disturbing and frightening… I know this firsthand from many years as a Norland Nanny, and because my son HATED fireworks for many of his early years so we had to be very careful about his exposure to them.

As a baby, if he heard fireworks or loud bangs in the distance he would cry and only settle when held by me or his father. As a toddler, he would shake and climb under blankets to get away from the noise.

While my son’s peers oohed and aahed at the beautiful displays… he begged to go home.

So regardless of how much YOU love fireworks, you MUST be mindful that your baby might not.

And if that’s the case, you will need to plan your celebrations accordingly.

The easiest way? Do not go to fireworks displays.

No amount of cuddling, gentle encouraging, and pre-prep chats helped our son… and in the end, we just had to wait for him to grow out of it.

By the way, he now LOVES firework displays…

With this in mind, let’s get into the details about helping manage babies and fireworks.

How To Help Baby Sleep Through Fireworks

If you know that a firework display is going to take place near your home and you know that your baby is likely to find this distressing, it is important to make things at home as normal as possible.

How To Help Baby Sleep Through Fireworks
  1. Pack any older siblings off to the event with your partner, friend, or relative, and keep baby at home with you. Keep the home environment as normal as possible.
  2. Follow your normal recognizable bedtime routineConsistency will be your best asset when managing an anxious baby.
  3. If you don’t already do this during fireworks, consider using a white noise machine or fan. These can emit a consistent and calming sound that can help mask the sudden firework noises. A sound machine equipped with various sounds can also offer a range of options for what your baby may find relaxing.
  4. Strategically timing naps and wake windows throughout the day can foster deeper sleep at night. If possible, adjust your baby’s nap schedule by 10-15 minutes every day BEFORE the event to encourage them to fall into deep sleep before the fireworks start. This tip works well for events such as the 4th July or Guy Fawkes Night.
  5. If you live near an open space where firework displays occur, see if you can stay the night at a relative’s house. Otherwise, consider giving baby some ear protection to wear around the house to ensure comfort from startling sounds (only give baby ear protection if they’re older than 6 months).

NOTE: Earplugs are not recommended for babies and toddlers as they are usually too big for tiny ears and can potentially fall out and be a choking hazard.

Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

What To Do When Fireworks Wake Up Baby

If you have decided to stay home, there is still the chance that your baby may be woken by a local fireworks display.

Remember that this is temporary, and your baby should be able to return to their regular sleep schedule after a night of firework disruption.

Can You Keep Baby Awake To See Fireworks?

When considering whether to keep your baby awake for fireworks, you must prioritize their needs.

Babies have sensitive ears, so the loud sounds of fireworks can be startling and uncomfortable.

For newborns and very young infants, maintaining a regular sleep schedule is very important for their overall well-being and I would not recommend taking them to a firework display.

The distance from the fireworks can slightly reduce the sound intensity. However, even at a considerable distance, the boom of fireworks can still be too intense for a baby’s delicate hearing.

If your baby is older than 6 months old and you do decide to take them to their first firework display, you should ideally protect their ears with noise-canceling headphones like these:

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If the event is significant, like the 4th of July, you can also find alternative ways to involve your baby in the celebrations without the potential overstimulation from the fireworks.

It’s essential to balance everyone’s enjoyment of the festive experience while making sure your baby feels safe and secure.

As your baby grows they will be able to take part in the annual festivities before you know it!

A family watching a firework display together

Can Babies Watch Fireworks?

The bright flashes and loud noises are staples of the 4th of July holiday… but for babies, whose hearing and eyesight are more delicate, these sounds and visuals can be harmful and distressing.

So yes, whilst a baby can watch fireworks… it’s recommended that they maintain a safe distance from the actual launching of fireworks and wear ear protection.

Fireworks shows can produce sounds that exceed 150 decibels which can cause permanent hearing damage to your baby’s sensitive ears.

To mitigate this risk, you can protect their hearing by using baby ear protection such as noise-canceling headphones that are made specifically for infants. These ear defenders from Alpine Muffy offer good protection from 6-36 months.

When considering a fireworks show, also think about the bright lights. Young babies’ eyes are more sensitive, and bright flashes can easily startle them.

So if you have decided to take your baby to a firework event I would advise positioning yourself on the outskirts of large crowds.

This is not only safer for your baby in case of potential commotion. It also offers a retreat away from the noise if it becomes too overwhelming for them.

Always keep your baby’s comfort and safety your top priority when taking part in any celebration, including fireworks displays. If they show signs of distress or overstimulation remove them from the mayhem and offer lots of comfort.

What Is A Safe Sound Level For Babies?

Safe sound levels are typically below 80 decibels for infants, and consistent exposure to noise above this level can be harmful.

This is because due to their small ear canals, infants perceive loud sounds more intensely. This could lead to potential health issues such as hearing damage if exposed to loud sound without protection.

To put this into perspective, everyday noises in a home reach approximately 60 decibels.

However, loud noises like fireworks can exceed this safe range by a significant margin, with some reaching up to 170 decibels.

If possible, consider alternate ways to celebrate that don’t involve loud explosions. You could always watch from your window at home, for example.

Babies and Fireworks - a firework display

At What Age Can Kids Watch Fireworks?

When planning to attend fireworks events with children, parents commonly ask about the suitable age for such experiences.

I would always recommend that babies under six months should avoid exposure to the loud noises of fireworks. Their hearing is delicate, and they are too young for ear protection.

As children grow older, their capacity to handle the sound improves. By the time they reach preschool age, around 3-4 years old, they may be more prepared for the experience.

Keep the following in mind for children of different ages:

Most importantly trust your parenting instincts regarding your child’s comfort with crowds and loud noises.

While you may love the idea of sharing the bright spectacle with your child, focus on whether they feel safe and comfortable.

Remember, every child is different and let them take the lead. No matter what their age if they are not comfortable or enjoying the spectacle you are better off going home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Babies And Fireworks

This section addresses common concerns about infants and fireworks, focusing on hearing safety, protective measures, and age-appropriate introduction.

Q: Can exposure to fireworks harm an infant’s hearing?

A: Yes, exposure to the loud noises from fireworks can harm an infant’s hearing. Your baby’s ears are more sensitive to loud sounds than an adult’s ears. The loud booms and bangs can cause hearing damage or distress.

Q: What protective measures should be taken when babies are around loud fireworks?

A: When your baby is around fireworks, it’s crucial to protect their hearing. Use baby earmuffs or gentle ear protection and remember that babies under 6 months cannot wear ear defenders so non-attendance is best.

Q: What are the best practices for introducing toddlers to fireworks?

A: When introducing toddlers to fireworks, choose a medium-sized display. Home firework displays are not safe and really large gatherings can be overwhelming. Always ensure your toddler is well rested beforehand and explain what to expect to prepare them. Keep a comfortable distance from the fireworks and use ear protection to minimize noise levels for their sensitive ears. 

If they show signs of distress remove them from the situation. You can always try again next year.

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.

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