Remember when summer was meant for you and you for it? Vacationing at a beach destination was easy.
Fast forward, and now you have a baby. Things just got a little more complicated. And when you think of the beach, you can't help but wonder," how long can babies be in the sun?" and "at what age is it safe to take a baby to the beach?"
The best way to triumph over a beach day with your baby is always to come prepared; therefore, if you are thinking of hitting the beach with your baby. We've got You!
Find some great tips for taking your baby to the beach.
What To Consider Before Going To The Beach
Children and the seaside go together like fish and chips, and the beachside getaway is a summer necessity. But how do you go taking the baby to the beach safely? As even the one-and-under set needs a little vacay sometimes.
You'll want to consider your baby's age in relation to water safety and the amount of time you will spend in the sun. Do not forget to spot out a shade where you can escape the sun's glaring rays if your beach baby gets overheated.
With a little preparation, baby beach accessories, and forethought, it is possible to enjoy your baby's first beach trip. You should consider other things while taking your baby to the beach.
What age is appropriate?
Your baby can lose heat rapidly, nearly four times faster than you. Wait until your baby hits the two-month-old mark before going to the beach. Also, when your little one is too small, his skin is extremely delicate and still forms melanin.
Of course, it is not against the law to take your beach gear for toddlers and hit the waves. However, it is not recommended until your little one is one year old, as your baby is less likely to become dehydrated and sunburnt, among other things.
So, if you are planning to go to the beach and wondering, "what age can I take my baby to the beach?" the answer is that there is no set age limit, but it is better to wait and allow your little one immune system to build up.
What Time Of Day Is Best?
Typically the hottest and warmest part of the day is from 11 am- 3 pm. And this is also the time your newborn at the beach is likely to overheat. Your baby's skin is far more susceptible to the effects of UV rays than you.
It's best to avoid direct sun rays on your baby's skin rather than using baby sunscreen until your baby hits the six months mark. Therefore, the best time of the day is first thing in the morning ( but remember to check water temperature), or head there post-nap for late afternoon seaside bonding when the sun is setting.
The point is to avoid spending a huge chunk of time at the beach when the UV rays from the sun are strongest.
How Long Should You Stay At The Beach?
When you decide to have a baby beach day, we suggest going with baby steps. Remember that your baby can not spend a full 8-hour day in the sun because of their delicate skin and the risk of overheating.
That said, you should base how long you stay at the beach on the day's weather conditions. If it is very hot, your aim should be a short morning or evening session for your baby. From the short spans, you can gradually build up your baby's tolerance for being outside in the direct sunlight.
Remember to check that your baby does not get too cold in the water. Therefore be aware of the water temperature before getting your baby in for a few minutes. While submerging your little one, you should start with the tiny toe fingers as you allow them to get used to the feeling.
How To Prepare For Bringing Your Baby To The Beach: A Guide
Before you throw some infant's beach gear in a bag and head for the shore with your baby, read through this first. These baby beach hacks will make ocean outings easier for your whole family as you create memories.
1. Prep In Advance- Create A Beach Packing checklist
If you cherish the idea of taking a beach trip, then you should prepare a beach packing list that will help you know what to bring to the beach with a baby. You need many moving parts and beach essentials for the baby when you pack for your vacation full of sand and sun, even if it is just for a day!
Creating a beach packing list will help you not forget something important for your baby. The beach vacation packing list includes the things to take to the beach. An ideal beach day packing list will include:
- A camera or good phone to capture your baby's trip to the seaside
- Sun hat
- Cool bag with water and food
- Picnic rug or mat
- A small bucket and a spade for sand and water play
- A pouch for your keys and wallet, sunscreen, and phone
- Baby swimwear, it helps to include a spare if you have one
- Formula feeding equipment.
- First aid kit
- Armbands, rubber rings, or float suit
- Sandals if your baby is walking
- Change of clothes
- Water diapers
- Pop up a shade tent or a sturdy beach umbrella
- Plastic or waterproof bags for wet clothes
- Esky with water bottles, fruit, and food pouches if your baby is eating solids
- Baby sunscreen
- Picnic blankets
- Beach trolleys and wagons to help transport your baby beach supplies from your car, home, and accommodation to the sand.
Prepping in advance will help you have a fun and relaxing day by the water. Ensure to seek out a baby-friendly beach that has calm and clean water.
2. Choose A Baby-Friendly Sunscreen
When choosing a baby-friendly sunscreen for your baby, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends applying a small amount of baby-safe sunscreen with an SPF of 30-50 and no lower than SPF 15. You should apply sunscreen on the back of the hands, the face, and the tops of the feet. And if your baby has hit six months or older, you can apply a baby-friendly sunscreen with SPF 30-50 to all the exposed areas of your little one.
Therefore, when shopping for your baby's sunscreen, look for a formula labeled" broad spectrum," as it will protect from UVA and UVB rays. The active ingredients list should contain only titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as there are considered physical sunscreens meaning they will stay on the surface of your baby's skin and thus not be absorbed.
Aside from checking for the SPF, you will need to make sure the sunscreen is hypoallergenic so it won't irritate the skin or cause discomfort for babies, toddlers, and older kids. A good example of this would be Fresh Monster’s sunscreen for kids.
3. Keep Your Baby Cool
On extra hot beach days, one great beach necessity for a baby is a spray bottle. The spray bottle will let you and your baby keep cool as you spritz yourself with cool water. Spritzing your baby with cool water and ensuring that they adequately hydrate with water, juice, milk, or formula will help cool your baby down, especially if they are already looking flushed.
You also need to bring your shade as this will help keep your little one from overheating. Remember that your young one is still figuring out how to regulate their body temperature. Keep your baby out of direct sunlight as much as you can.
Using the big beach umbrella you brought or the small pop-up tent, ensure that your baby is getting enough shade. And if your baby is the type not to keep still, make use of the wide-brimmed hat and baby sunglasses to help keep the sun out of your baby's eyes and off their face.
4. Invest In Some Quality Shade
Investing in some quality shade for your baby will ensure they have a blast as they splash in the water. Bring an umbrella or canopy when going to the beach to provide shade. You can also spot trees or any shade available for you and your little one to cover.
Suppose your baby is a water person, you will need to purchase floats with canopies as protection from the sun while in the water. You can also get a baby beach tent that will protect your sweetie's skin from sunburn, thus providing a comfy spot to stay cool.
Investing in a beach tent will also ensure your baby has the perfect spot for a quick beach nap, as it blocks the wind during windy days.
5. Create A Sand Free Play Area
As much as your baby will love the water, most will loathe the sand sticking to them. Hence the need to create a sand-free play area if you do not wish to keep rubbing off the sand from the baby’s behind now and then.
To create a sand-free play area, you need a bedsheet. Turn the fitted bedsheet upside down and place a prop ( a bag or cooler might work) in the corners to keep the bedsheet extended and the sides up.
The sides will act as a barrier to keep your wondering tot from the sand and crawling away. You can also decide to purchase mats that are designed to fold up compactly. Thus does not need items propped in the corner
6. Choose Your Baby Swim Outfit Wisely
You can clothe your little one with any standard swimwear, but you must include a swim nappy in the outfit to avoid any accidents on the beach. For peace of mind, opt for baby swimwear with an integrated swim nappy/ diaper with stronger elastic, as this is designed to prevent any leaks.
If your tot is a water baby and loves splashing in the ocean, ensure they wear safe swimwear, preferably UV protection.
You should also consider a baby float vest ( or "water wings"), beach shoes, sunglasses, and a hoodie to help keep the sun and sand out of the baby's eyes and face.
Do not forget a sun hat when choosing your baby's swim outfit, as it will help keep your baby's neck and face shaded from the sun.
If your little one is not ready to be in the water, choose a long-sleeved top in a lightweight fabric, preferably cotton, as this will provide an extra layer of protection from the sun.
If your little one moves around independently, ensure their feet are protected. Getting them beach shoes or jelly shoes will help protect their feet from the hot sand or any sharp objects that might be hidden in the sand
7. Purchase Swimming Diapers
A reusable swimming nappy should be on your packing list when planning a beach adventure with your young one. Using regular diapers inevitably ends up in a soggy mess you do not want to find yourself in a while taking your vacay and sun in.
But this is easily avoidable if you include some swimming diapers in your baby beach items. These swimming diapers are reusable and contain a material that does not absorb liquids.
Swimming Diapers should not be left out when figuring out what to pack for the beach with a baby. They come in different sizes and are easy to remove when wet. The best part of swimming diapers, apart from preventing baby leaks from getting into the water, is that they also help prevent the spread of E.coli from getting inside the water and spreading.
And if you are worried about your baby pooping while out in the sun, high chances are that they will not as they will have it on for short periods. BUT should they decide to poo, you need not worry as you can get them off the soiled swimming diaper. Dispose of the waste in the nearest beach toilet, rinse the diaper, and pack it in your baby's wet bag for later washing.
Swimming diapers are primarily designed to keep fecal matter from escaping; therefore, if your little one decides to wee, there's nothing much you can do as it will go into the water and sand!
8. Choose Appropriate Sand Toys
While the beach is a playground, it pays to pack plenty of beach clobbers for your baby to make the most out of their time in the sand. With the appropriate sand toys as beach equipment for babies, you will be prepared with ways to keep them busy and happy.
The best sand toys will ensure that your kiddo gets help digging or making shapes in the sand; others will make playing in the sand full of STEM learning and creativity. But remember to keep the toys simple.
Some types of sand toys include:
- Sifter: A sand sifter is great for sensory play, as your baby scoops the soil and watches it sift through the holes. A sifter will intrigue your young one as she watches the sand move and enjoys the feeling of it running across their hands.
- Shovel: This is the simplest beach toy for your young ones because they can enjoy digging in the sand. And if your tot has already tried their hand on the shovel before, they can now build sandcastles using it. Your baby can also opt to create roads and moats for the castle, providing hours of entertainment.
- Sand wheel: ideally, a sand wheel has a funnel on top and a wheel beneath it. Your little one should pour sand into the funnel, and the wheels will begin to turn. For ease of movement through the sand, you can use water. While your little one is scooping sand and filling the funnel, they are developing their hand-eye coordination, thus a great introduction to the scientific principles of motion.
- Castle mold: These are another great way of building sand castles. Many castle molds come in different sizes for various effects, ranging from simple to elaborate. Castle molds are many types, like sea creatures and other fun shapes.
- Bucket: This is the most common sand toy, for a good reason. It helps unlock your little ones' imagination and creativity. A sand bucket will encourage your baby to create their details.
- Sand play set: a sand play set combines different sand toys that will keep your baby entertained on their beach trip. Basic sand play sets include sand molds, buckets, and shovels. In comparison, elaborate sets include a sifter, wheel, and more
9. Bring a Drawstring Mesh Bag
At the end of your beach trip, you will have a lot of baby items ( including sand toys) that are covered in sand and possibly wet from the ocean. Bring a drawstring mesh bag to carry all the items in one convenient place.
A drawstring mesh bag is great as it minimizes sand collection that would normally occur with regular bags. Mesh bags also help in allowing quick cleanups. They are also great as they ease the work of washing your toys individually. With a mesh bag, all you have to do is spray it down after you are done at the beach and dry them outside.
10. Try A Blow-up Baby Pool
Pack a small blow-up baby pool and a beach umbrella to keep the baby cool and contained at the beach. A blow-up baby pool is especially handy for new crawlers and babies who are at the stage of putting everything ( sand, rocks) into their mouths. Another benefit of blowing up a baby pool is that you can keep the pool under a shaded area.
Blow-up baby pools are inexpensive, and you can also Do It Yourself by; first, dig a shallow hole, then put a shower curtain liner in it, and later fill it with an inch of water. These baby pools will prevent you from chasing up and down after your baby and keep your little one away from strong waves and salty water.
11. Introduce New Words
While at the beach, the vocabulary will change from the normal "house language." Your little one will analyze and pick up "beach words" that you utter while on the beach. You will enrich your baby's vocabulary by pointing out waves, balls, sand toys, hats, ocean sand, boats, and everything else you see at the beach.
You can also write the words in the sand while calling out each letter for better identification and appropriate use in their communication. This will expand their creativity as they learn something new.
12. Invest In An Outdoor Blanket Or Mat
Investing in an outdoor blanket/mat is a smart move for your baby and the whole family. On your baby's first beach trip, do not forget to checklist an outdoor mat as it is a game-changer.
Outdoor blankets are water-resistant, making them great for the beach and a place where your young one can feed on. They also make a great place for your baby to sit without worrying about the sand sticking on them as they repel sand.
Most outdoor mats are designed to fit many kids ( and grown-ups) all at once. They also have handy pockets on each corner that you should fill with sand. This helps weight the blanket and stay laid properly even on windy days. And if you are worried about extra luggage, do not be as these blankets are very compact.
13. Keep Your Baby Dehydrated
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. We can't over emphasize how vital it is to keep your baby dehydrated. If your baby is between six to eleven months, you should ensure that they drink a modest amount of water while out on the beach. An insulated water bottle is a great choice as it will help keep the water cold.
If your young one is still nursing, it is acceptable even when out on the beach, but you should strive to increase their hydration by 50%. You can use cool water to regulate your body temperatures. And while nursing opts for a lightweight swimsuit rather than a beach towel, it is more breathable.
14. Bring Baby Powder
Baby powder is the first secret to surviving a beach trip with babies. Baby powder helps dry up the moisture ( gotten from the ocean), causing sand to stick to you and allowing you to brush it right off. It also decreases diaper rash on your little one.
Baby powder/ talcum powder is one of the best ways to remove stubborn sand between your baby's toes, bum, and other body areas. The powder even works on your baby's wet hair to remove any grains of sand stuck on their scalp.
If the baby powder isn't your thing, as you fear your little one might be affected by the smell, you can opt for cornstarch as it is a great alternative. And we are sure the ocean creatures and beach critters will also be grateful for the natural choice.
Side note: remember to throw in some vinegar for jellyfish stings at the beach.
15. Only Bring What Is Necessary
Ensuring that you have all the beach essentials for the baby is super important, but do not go overboard. Pack light for easy travel, load the wagon and skip the toy box.
On a beach trip, you do not need to bring much to entertain your little one. You are the greatest toy for them. Other than you, you can do a teething toy or two, a shovel, sand toys, and a bucket, and you are good to go. The action and playing in the water will keep your young one entertained.
It's more about proper planning, packing, and prepping for the trip to ensure you are at the right beach, at the right time, and with the right items.
16. Keep To Your Schedule ( i.e., incorporate naps)
Even when out at the beach, your little one will be exhausted. And after spending some time in the sun, you and your baby will be sleepy. To ensure your baby will get the rest they deserve, bring their sleepwear so they can nap in the shade at their normal nap times.
17. What To Feed Your Baby on The Beach
All play with no food will make the baby a dull boy! If your little one has already been weaned, you can freeze a few food pouches and yogurt the night before your beach trip. The pre-frozen snacks will turn to a chilly, slushy consistency, helping keep your baby cool. Pre-freezing is also great on sore gums if your baby is teething.
When can babies go to the beach? The good news is that a beach trip has no age limit! And while experts recommend against beach visits for babies under the age of one, you can ensure that you exercise all the necessary precautions to make your trip enjoyable and memorable.
Therefore if you plan to take your newborn to the beach, follow the above tips and be prepared to deal with any situation. I hope you find them useful.