One of the best family-friendly activities to do in the summer is to spend time by the water. It doesn’t cost a lot to pack your family up and head to the beach. If you pack your own food and bring your own supplies, you may spend a little next to nothing.
However, spending a day at the beach with a baby can present its own challenges. There’s a lot more you need to remember to pack when you have an infant to care for. If you’re heading to the beach with a baby, remember to pack the following items. So long as you have these, you’re bound to have a successful outing.
Baby Beach Tent
Babies have more sensitive skin than adults and older children, which makes them more prone to sunburns. Even if you identify a shady patch to set up for a day, having a baby tent on hand is still a wise move. Jar of Lemons explains that these tents are usually easy to set up and lightweight for portability. Allow your baby to play or nap in the tent, away from the sun’s glare. Being in the shade will also keep your infant cooler and less fussy.
Even if your baby is going to be exclusively in the shade, don’t forgo sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen that’s specifically made for the sensitive skin of young children. Look for one that’s “broad spectrum,” meaning it protects against both UVB and UVA rays. Sunscreens with mineral ingredients (like zinc oxide) are preferable because its less harsh.
What to Expect instructs parents to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30-50 on your baby’s face, feet, and back of their hands. The rest of their body should be covered by light-weight clothing to offer the ultimate protection from the sun’s rays.
Due to their small size, it’s easier for babies and toddlers to become dehydrated. If you’ll be spending the entire day at the beach in warm weather, then bringing along enough water as well as water-rich foods is an important part of your packing list.
Once babies are around 6-months old, they can begin having water in addition to breast milk. Only offer your baby water if they’re used to it and you’ve been given the go-ahead by your pediatrician.
Consider packing food with a high-water content, such as watermelon, celery, oranges, and pineapple. This makes it easier to ensure your child stays hydrated, even if they’re picky about drinking plain water. Only offer solid foods to your baby that are safe for their age and skill level. Be sure to cut the food up into small pieces to avoid a choking hazard.
Infant Sunglasses & Hat
According to All About Vision, babies should start wearing sunglasses when they’re 6-months or older. Like skin, babies have much more sensitive eyes than older kids and adults. Since their eyes are still developing, the crystalline lens cannot filter out the sun’s UV rays effectively. This makes it easier for UB rays to harm the retina, making sunglasses an important part of sun safety.
Before 6-months of age, babies should not be exposed to the sun at all, or at least not to the point where sunglasses are required.
When shopping for your infant’s sunglasses, look for ones with effective UV protection – they should block 100% of UVA rays. You also want to choose one with a proper fit so it won’t fall off, but also made from a durable material so it can withstand wear and tear.
For the same reason, be sure to pack a hat for your baby as well. This will protect your infant’s eyes as well as their skin from potential UV damage.
If you plan to let your baby have a bit of fun in the water, be sure to pack appropriate clothing, like a swim diaper. Put one of these on your infant in lieu of a regular diaper before they’ll get wet. A swim diaper will be much comfier for your baby in comparison to a soggy, disposable diaper.
However, be careful not to use a swim diaper as a regular diaper since they’re not very absorbent. Keep your infant in a regular diaper when they’re not in the water and be sure to have diaper changing essentials on hand when you need to make the switch.
Finally, bring along beach toys that can keep your baby occupied. What you pack will depend on your infant’s age and skill level. Don’t pack any toys that aren’t age-appropriate or could pose a choking hazard. You may need different toys if your children vary in ages.
Also, be sure to keep a close watch on your baby if they’re playing with a new toy, and keep it close to make sure the toys don’t get blown away by the wind or taken by the ocean’s waves.
Sources: Jar of Lemons, What to Expect, All About Vision, Healthline, Pregnancy Birth Baby,