Taking your baby to the beach is a treasured experience for all new parents. It’s just amazing to watch those first waves tickle your baby’s toes. To see their tiny footprints in the sand and their astonished face as they watch the foamy waves rolling towards them.
But as your baby explores this new world, it’s natural to worry about their safety.
If this is your first time taking an infant to the beach, you might be wondering how to keep baby cool at the beach and how to keep your baby safe in the hot sun.
For those new to traveling with a baby or planning a beach trip with baby, you’ll want to pack all your baby beach essentials and read our best tips for taking a baby to the beach. You’ll even find a few baby beach hacks in this list.
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Tips for Taking Baby to the Beach
1. Beach Sun Shade & Shelter
What age can I take my baby to the beach?
While the minimum recommended age for taking a baby to the beach is 2 months, it’s also recommended that babies under 6 months of age not use sunscreen! So what do you do? Invest in some sun protection!
When taking a newborn to the beach, use one of these best baby beach tents to keep your baby in the shade as much as possible. For a day at the beach, a beach shade can make your trip with your little one sunburn- and worry-free.
A good beach tent not only ensures protection from the sun, but also provides babies with a place to take a nap or even play without all that sensory stimulation. It also makes for the perfect dry area to store all your essentials.
When it comes to choosing a tent, you need to give high priority to having 50+ UV protection and excellent ventilation. Having a shady place is one of the best ways to keep baby cool at the beach.
It is also important to look for shelters that are easy to set up and disassemble. You don’t want to be stuck with a tent that requires an excessive amount of time to set up, as you’ll also have a baby to deal with.
Even if you aren’t traveling with a beach tent, a good stroller sun shade can offer your baby needed sun protection.
2. Sunscreen & Reapplying
Sunscreen is an obvious essential to bring to the beach, but what about on cloudy days or during the winter? Yes, even then! In fact, it is recommended to apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before stepping out on all exposed areas of the skin, no matter the weather or time of day.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends applying SPF 30-50 sunscreen to children of 6 months of age and older throughout the year.
You should reapply sunscreen every two hours or less, depending on the intensity and level of exposure to the sun, and even more frequently if your baby gets wet.
For babies younger than six months, keep your baby out of the sun as much as possible. You can provide extra protection in the sun by using long clothing, and sun hats, but you should also talk to your family doctor about how best to protect your baby from the sun.
3. Keep Baby Hydrated
Dehydration is more common in babies and toddlers than in adults. One of the most important sun safety tips is to make sure to keep your infant hydrated with breast milk or formula.
If your child is above 6 months or has started solid food, make it a point to give them water at regular intervals.
Be on the lookout for common signs of dehydration such as tearless cries, a parched mouth, or going long periods of time without urinating.
One of the best baby beach hacks is to use timers for both reapplying sunscreen and drinking water. Set timers at regular intervals if you think it can help you ensure adequate hydration for both you and your baby.
4. Keep Baby Cool
How to keep a baby cool at the beach? A shady spot out of the sun is ideal. You can also keep sunscreen in the cooler, so it’s cool when you reapply it. Wash cloths kept cool are also a great way to cool your baby off.
For baby swimwear, pick fully covered clothes that are lightweight, well-ventilated, and come in light shades.
Babies don’t perspire as easily as adults, so it’s important to ensure that the clothes we put them in don’t cause them to overheat.
Buying clothes with a high UPF rating is also a good way to level up your baby’s beach safety.
If you are a frequent beach visitor, beach shoes or water shoes are a fantastic buy as they will protect your baby’s feet from the hot sand without trapping moisture.
5. Keep Sand Removal Gentle
Talc-free baby powder is the ultimate go-to baby beach hack for getting sand off wriggly little ones. The baby powder absorbs the moisture, which makes the cleaning process quick and easy.
Common cornstarch from your local grocers is a cheaper alternative to baby powder that works just as well in this situation. Carry it with you to the beach or leave it in your car to sprinkle on everyone’s feet before stepping in.
6. Use an Inflatable Pool / Dig a Hole in the Sand
If you are not able to find calm water or inlets that feel safe for your baby, then a blow-up pool is a good option. Having one on hand comes in especially useful for parents whose babies are still crawling.
If you don’t have a blow-up pool, you can always dig a hole in the sand. The hole you dig should be shallow but wide enough to allow your baby to crawl freely. Add a few inches of water and fill it with a few beach toys and your baby will have a blast playing in their own mini beach!
You’ll likely need to keep refilling it with water, but your baby will love the new cool water!
7. Watch the Time of Day
When can you take a baby to the beach? The best time of day to visit the beach with a baby is in the morning or late afternoon.
You should avoid going to the beach when the sun is at its harshest. This is usually between 10 am to 4 pm, so avoid these hours to keep your baby’s skin and eyes safe.
Too much direct exposure to the sun, even for babies above 6 months, is not ideal. You can instead use your time at the beach doing activities inside your baby’s beach tent.
Try your best to expose your child to the sun as infrequently as possible and start with short visits firsts before charting out a whole day at the beach.
8. Baby Beach Toys
Baby beach toys can be fantastic additions to a day of sensory play at the beach. The key is to select toys that assist the exploration of their surroundings and not detract from it. For babies, basic beach toys such as a bucket, shovel, and a watering can are perfect.
These toys are usually easily available to rent or buy at most beaches.
9. Pack all the Beach Essentials
Don’t forget to pack a baby sun hat and baby sunglasses as part of your baby’s beach essentials. As cute as they are, they are not just accessories. They are essential for protecting your baby’s face and eyes from harmful UV rays.
Get a sunhat that has a wide brim and neck coverage to ensure that your baby’s neck and ears are protected too.
Baby sun hats with velcro ties or a chin strap are a must if you have tiny ones who like pulling hats off. Look for hats with a high UPF+ sun rating for adequate protection.
10. Swim Diapers
Swim diapers are designed to repel water, as opposed to regular diapers that absorb water, thereby increasing the weight on your baby. You can purchase disposable swim diapers or reusable swim diapers.
Do swim diapers hold pee? Not much, but they do hold solid waste without a problem, making them an essential buy if your baby is getting in the water. Their main function is to prevent the transmission of germs and diseases.
11. Bring a Fan with a Mister
If you are looking for a gadget to help keep your baby cool at the beach, a fan with a mister is exactly what you need. You can hook one onto to your child’s stroller or even just hold it.
Easy to use and cheap buy, a fan with a mister keeps baby’s body temperature regulated and it even comes to use when older kids get cranky or adults get exhausted.
12. Use a Stroller or Wagon
The food, the toys, the diapers – being a parent comes with having to lug around a ridiculous amount of stuff, especially for a day at the beach.
A stroller or a beach wagon is a life saver, and even more so if you are taking a baby to the beach. Just dump all your gear and food into the stroller and walk it to your spot in the sand.
13. Use a Beach Blanket
A beach blanket is useful whether you have a beach tent or not. They provide a safe surface for your baby to crawl and play on, as well as a space for everyone to gather after playing. They’re also essential for keeping your things dry and away from the sand.
Another baby beach hack is to use a fitted sheet, with large items at the corners (like your cooler) to keep your baby out of the sand.
The Sandy Bumz is a good alternative to consider. It’s a polyester groundcover that is easy to set up and carry. It’s also great for use in any outdoor setting, like the park or at a playground, and not just at beaches.
14. Freeze Food Pouches
If you have a baby who is teething or has started solid food, frozen food pouches will be a fun treat. The soft and cold will help combat the heat and lower their body temperature and the texture will help soothe their gums and discomfort.
The best part about squeeze food pouches is that it’s easy to keep them sand free and your baby can feed themselves. Food pouches are also an easy way to manage baby food while traveling.
15. Cooler for Milk and Snacks
The only thing worse than drinking a boiling hot beverage at the beach is discovering your food and drinks have gone bad in the heat! Carrying food and supplies for your child is a huge part of traveling with a baby.
Coolers help to keep it all at the correct temperature. With a cooler, you’ll get to enjoy a relaxing day with your family without worrying about anything getting spoiled.
16. Extra Outfits and Towels
Don’t forget to carry multiple changes of clothing and towels when you are taking newborns to the beach. You can never predict when your baby will need a fresh outfit.
If you take your baby in the water at the beach, you’ll also want towels and clothing to warm your baby up.
If you have a family that loves water and refuses to get out of it till the last moment, you could even leave some clothes and towels to warm up in the car.
17. Have a Safe Place for Nap Times
A safe and well ventilated space is an absolute necessity if you are taking your baby to the beach. In fact, you should actually expect your baby to feel extra stimulated by all the sounds and sensations and tire out quicker than usual in the heat. A beach tent is ideal for nap times.
If you have the space, you can even pack a baby travel crib to give your baby a safe place for sleeping.
18. Avoid Extra Hot Days
It goes without saying the importance of checking weather conditions before taking your infant to the beach. Avoid going to the beach on days with extreme heat or weather conditions to ensure the safety of baby.
If you are planning an international trip to escape the winter such as going to Mexico with a baby make sure you do your research on the weather and exercise baby beach safety.
Even if this means returning to your hotel room to cool off and avoid the mid-day heat.
19. Use a Baby Carrier for Water
Can I take my baby in the water at the beach? Yes, you absolutely can. A waterproof baby carrier is a convenient item to have for some laid-back time in the water without worrying about the baby slipping from your hands.
You can use a baby carrier for the water in both the pool and the beach, so it’s useful when taking a baby on an all-inclusive vacation!
20. Use Mesh Bags Where Possible
Save yourself the headache of bringing the beach home with you by using a mesh bag where possible. You can use a mesh bag for baby beach toys and swap your regular diaper bag for a mesh beach bag that will keep the sand out of your car!
If you are traveling, having a packable beach bag that you can pull out just for those beach days will help you avoid using your regular backpack or diaper bag on the beach!
Beach Trips with a Baby
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.