Are you planning a trip to the beach with your baby or toddler? We just came back from a long weekend in Florida with two girls under 4 and things surely have changed since we first brought Annabelle as a baby. There are new contraptions for wrangling a little one on the run, a wider variety of kid-safe sunscreen, and fancy protective beachwear. Here are five tips for taking babies or toddlers to the beach.
1. Start planning early.
Give yourself enough time to make lists and pack appropriately for your vacation with a baby or toddler. I find that when I’m rushing I end up forgetting essential items and then have to spend extra money purchasing them on our trip. Pack your kids’ clothing in packing cubes to keep everything organized and bring a few extra outfits/swimsuits in case of emergencies. Put together their bags a few days in advance so you can go back to make sure you don’t forget anything.
2. Protect baby’s skin from the sun.
My favorite brand for SPF protective sun/swimwear is UVSkinz. I love the one piece onesie sunsuit/swimsuit for Ailey because I know her arms and legs are covered. We also love UV Skinz hats as they shade her eyes while providing great facial coverage. For our little princess Annabelle, she just adores her ruffle swim skirt and matching shirt.
My go-to sunscreen for Ailey’s sensitive skin is Beach Bum Baby. Currently, it is the only sunscreen that doesn’t irritate her eczema. Annabelle hates to stand still while we apply sunscreen, so I buy the spray bottles by Honest.
3. Contain your crawler/runner.
I have to give a shoutout to my best friend Kim for introducing me to this baby wrangling contraption – the KidCo GoPod Portable Baby Activity Station. We set the activity station right under the umbrella on the beach for Ailey and she thought she was the cats pajamas. There are hooks for toys, a cup holder, and mesh bowl built into the chair. It is easily washable and folds into a carrying bag. For younger babies, KidCo makes a portable sleeping tent. This is the perfect place to nap as its breathable and will protect your little one from the sand and sun.
Ailey was obsessed with the sand – touching it, kicking it, and especially eating it. We found it was best to keep her contained in the KidCo as much as possible.
4. Bring your own toys.
If you want to save yourself from having to buy overpriced beach toys, bring your own with you! Last year we made the mistake of leaving Annabelle’s bucket and shovel at home, so we had to purchase the most expensive plastic beach toys ever made that were broken in a day. Melissa & Doug makes funky fun beach toys or you can go with a full beach toy set including watering can (which is a must) and sand molds.
5. Keep Your Toddler Safe in the Water
Annabelle loves to play in the ocean with her Daddy, but she doesn’t know how to swim yet. She has been wearing the Puddle Jumper for years and knows how to move around in it quite well. We would NEVER let her swim in the ocean or any water unsupervised, but it makes us feel better knowing she has something to keep her afloat.
What are your favorite tips for families taking their first trip?
Caitlin Houston is a Connecticut based life and style blogger.