Taking your baby to the beach for the first time is always an exciting experience for any parent. It’ll be their first time feeling soft, warm sand between their toes, feeling the waves tickling their little feet, and seeing the vast ocean.
As thrilling as it may be, though, taking your baby to the beach requires a bit of preparation and some careful planning to ensure their safety and comfort. Here are a few tips on how to make the experience memorable and enjoyable for the entire family:
Sun Protection Essentials for Your Baby
The sun, while a source of joy and warmth, can also be a powerful adversary when it comes to your baby's delicate skin. Shielding your little one from the sun's harmful UV rays is an absolute must.
If your baby is under 6 months old, they should be kept in the shade at all times and dressed in protective clothing that covers their arms and legs entirely, as well as a hat for their head.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises against using a sunscreen product on newborns to 6 month old babies, though you can apply a small amount to their skin if it isn’t possible to keep your child out of the sun.
Right off the bat, you should know that the guidelines for selecting a sunscreen product for your child differs from what’s recommended for adults. For babies 6 months and older, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests a high-quality broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF rating of 30–higher is better. A “broad spectrum” formula means that the product will be able to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Sunscreen should be applied to the baby’s face, the backs of their hands, and the tops of their feet. For little ones older than 6 months, applying sunscreen all over the body is encouraged.
In addition to protective clothing and sunscreen, you may want to add a hooded towel to your list of sun protection essentials. Here at Little Unicorn, we offer hooded towels for infants as well as toddlers.
They’re made out of absorbent muslin and super-soft terry cloth for a truly cozy embrace. All of our hooded towels feature a – you guessed it – convenient hood that can help protect your child’s head and the back of their neck from the heat of the sun. Additionally, our toddler hooded towels come with pockets for their little hands.
Create a Shady Retreat
While basking in the sun can be delightful, your baby needs a cool and shaded haven to escape the heat. A beach tent or umbrella is your best friend here. These portable shelters provide much-needed respite from the sun's intensity, allowing your baby to relax and play comfortably.
Inside the tent or under the umbrella, you’ll want to set up a place where your baby can sit or lie on. Our outdoor blankets are an excellent choice for the task. Available in 3 different sizes in a wide variety of prints and designs, they’re compact, water-resistant, and easy to carry, thanks to an integrated over-the-shoulder strap. They’re also durable, being made with a padded material that is especially designed for outdoor use, whether it’s laid down on concrete, wet grass, or sand.
Tips for Safe Sand Play
The beach is a natural playground, and your baby will likely want to explore the sand and water. While it's fantastic for sensory development, it also comes with some potential hazards.
It’s important to keep an eye on your baby while they’re exploring to make sure that they don’t ingest any sand. Equally important is watching over your little one when they venture near the edge of the water. Even a small wave can pose a risk to a baby who's just getting used to this new environment. When you think your baby is ready for some supervised water play, use a baby float or life jacket to keep their head above the ocean’s surface.
Stock Your Beach Bag
The bag you choose to bring to the beach with you matters when you’ve got a baby in tow. It should be spacious enough to hold all of your belongings, as well as everything that your baby might need during the outing.
You’ll be glad to know that our diaper bags here at Little Unicorn can also double as beach bags! Both our Skyline Backpack and Citywalk Tote are made out of durable vegan leather. There’s more than enough space in them for both your belongings and baby’s: the Skyline Backpack features two clever compartments and a lightweight, ergonomic design, while the Citywalk Tote features 6 interior pockets to make finding things easier.
Essentials to bring include diapers, wipes, a changing mat, extra clothes, and a first-aid kit for any minor scrapes or bumps. Don't forget to bring a trash bag for your used items to keep the beach clean.
Your baby's first trip to the beach can be a remarkable and joyous experience with the right preparation. With proper planning and a dash of enthusiasm, you can create a cherished memory that your family will treasure for years to come.