The 4th of July is the peak of summer. It's a time when families all over the country gather together to enjoy the warm weather and celebrate Independence Day. With the heat, the crowds, and the fireworks, you will want a 4th of July survival guide for parents of infants. This is a list of all the things you will need — and should avoid — in order to get through the holiday with a happy and safe baby.
The 4th of July is celebrated differently depending on what part of the country you live in. In Florida, where I grew up, the 4th of Jule was all about going to the beach with your family, swimming in the ocean, and watching your dad and uncles light bottle rockets in the sand. When I lived in Virginia, however, we went to a neighborhood barbecue where everyone brought a covered dish and the kids had a patriotic bike parade around the block. Other cities have big Independence Day parades, festivals or concerts.
No matter how you celebrate the 4th of July, it's important to have fun while being safe, especially if you have a new baby. Here are some tips to help your survive the 4th of July as a new parent.
1. Keep You Baby Protected From The Sun
Babies under six months of age should not wear sunscreen according to the Mayo Clinic. You should dress you baby in protective clothing with a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses. Babies over six months of age should wear liberal amounts of sunscreen that is reapplied every two hours if they are going to be outside.
2. Make Sure Your Baby Is Hydrated
According to Kelly Mom, babies do not need to drink water in addition their milk and will not get dehydrated as long as they are allowed to feed on demand. Make sure you are feeding your baby as necessary to prevent dehydration in the heat, and don't be afraid to tell your nosy neighbor to back off when she insists your baby needs water apart from milk.
3. Keep The Buggies Away
Biting bugs are the worst part of the summer, especially because they can transmit diseases. For babies over two months of age, the CDC recommends using a mosquito repellent to prevent bug bites. Babies under two months should be protected by a mosquito netting draped around their infant carrier or stroller.
4. Consider Skipping The Parade
Parades are crowded, parking is usually terrible, and restrooms are difficult to find. If you have an infant, you may want to skip the hassle this year. However, it may not be an option if you have an older child who has really been looking forward to going. If you are definitely taking your baby to the parade, USA Today suggested that parents bring comfort items for baby. This can be a pacifier, a blankie or a musical toy to keep baby calm while the parade is going on. Make sure to bring a stroller for added safety in the crowds and plenty of diapers, wipes, and formula if you aren't breastfeeding.
5. Watch The Fireworks From Afar
Steer clear from non-professional or up-close fireworks displays like the kind you will find on some beaches and neighborhoods. Not only is the sound dangerous for a baby's developing ears, there is a risk of smoke inhalation and burn from a rogue or poorly set off firework. Also, the last thing you want is to spend the whole fireworks show calming a hysterical baby who is mortified by the loud booms.
6. Pass On The Beer
Everyone loves a cold brew at the neighborhood barbecue, but if you have to drive, grab a cold soda instead. Besides that it is always a bad idea to get behind the wheel after drinking, DUI checkpoints everywhere during 4th of July weekend. You definitely do not want to put your baby, yourself, or anyone else at risk this holiday.
7. No Boat For Baby
Lots of families go boating during the 4th of July holiday, babies who weigh less than 18 pounds and cannot fit snugly into a personal flotation device (PFD) should not ride in a boat, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. This applies to all water crafts including kayaks, rowboats, motorboats, and sailboats. Most babies weigh 18 pounds somewhere around seven to nine months of age.
8. Consider A Babysitter
Babies don't know the 4th of July from the 5th of August. If you have older kids who look forward to the beach, boating, parades or whatever traditional activity you participate in this time of year, you may want to consider hiring a babysitter or asking grandma to stay home with your baby. This will give you a little free time to spend enjoying the holiday with your older children, and avoid putting your littlest one in hot, loud, dangerous or generally uncomfortable scenarios.
9. Enjoy The 4th At Home
The most convenient way to enjoy your 4th of July with a new baby is to plan a small get together at home. It will be easy for your baby to take naps, you won't have to worry about driving anywhere or finding parking, and at the end of the day you won't have to brave the roads among those who've partied a little too hard. Make it a potluck with paper plates and you won't have to cook or do dishes.