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The sun, sand, and waves – there’s nothing like a day at the beach. But if you’re a new mom, you might be wondering, when can babies go to the beach? Is it safe for them?
As a mom, it's natural to want to protect your little one from any potential harm. But the good news is that with a few simple precautions, you can enjoy the beach with your baby without worry.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your baby has a safe and enjoyable day at the beach.
When Can Babies Go to the Beach?
There's no hard and fast rule about when babies can go to the beach.
In general, most doctors say that it's fine for healthy babies to enjoy time in the sand and water as long as they're supervised closely.
Of course, every baby is different. If your baby has any health conditions or if you're just not comfortable taking them to the beach yet, it's perfectly fine to wait a little longer.
After all, there's no rush – they'll have plenty of time to enjoy the sand and sun in the years ahead!
What Age Can I Take my Baby to the Beach?
There is no age limit to take your baby to the beach.
However, for safety reasons, it is always best to closely supervise your little one around water, especially when they are mobile!
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), all babies under the age of 1 should be within arm's reach of an adult at all times when around water, including at the beach.
Beach Safety Tips for Babies 0-6 Months Old
Even though going to the beach is generally safe for healthy, full-term infants, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure your little one stays safe while enjoying some time in the sun.
Plan Your Day Around the Weather
Keep an eye on the weather forecast. You'll want to avoid any days with a high heat index or high winds.
Not only is it more comfortable for your baby to be in cooler weather, but the sun can be more intense near the water.
High winds can mean blowing sand that can get in baby's eyes or hit their skin.
If high temperatures are unavoidable on your beach vacation, limit your time outside by taking frequent trips back to your home base.
Dress Your Baby for the Sun
Dress your baby in loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs.
A bathing suit is not necessary at this age – although super cute.
A wide-brimmed hat will help protect their face from the sun's harmful rays.
The goal is to keep your baby's skin as covered as possible with clothing that will not overheat them.
Choosing a Beach Location
Choose a spot that's close to a lifeguard station. This way, if anything does happen, help will be close by.
Park as close to the beach as possible and try not to hike too far from your car.
If you need to leave quickly, you'll want to be able to get off the beach easily.
How to Keep Baby Cool at the Beach
Peak sunlight hours are between 10 am and 4 pm. The sun is at its hottest during this time.
Babies under 6 months old should not be in direct sunlight with exposed skin for more than a few minutes at a time.
If you’re going to be at the beach for the day, make sure to provide plenty of shade for your baby to stay cool and comfortable.
You can use an umbrella, canopy, or portable baby tent – but the full shade is a must for babies this young.
Hydration and Snacks (for Mom too!)
It’s also important to keep your baby hydrated by giving them frequent drinks of breast milk or formula.
You may find that you will feed them more when it is warm out.
If you are a breastfeeding mom, be sure to keep yourself well hydrated in the heat so your breast milk supply does not drop.
Beach Safety Tips for Babies 6-12 Months Old
When your baby is mobile, it will be a full-time job watching them at the beach. It is also so much fun to see them explore this new environment.
Sunscreen for Baby
At 6 months old, it is okay and necessary to use sunscreen on your baby.
Put sunscreen on your baby before heading out into the sun, even if it's cloudy.
Be sure to use a non-toxic sunscreen that's safe for babies and reapply it every two hours (or more often if your baby is swimming or sweating).
Older babies can spend more time in the sun, but it’s still important to limit their exposure and provide plenty of shade.
Snacks and Drinks
At this age, baby can have snacks and sips of water in addition to their normal breastmilk or formula.
Continue to feed them their main nutrition source regularly and offer plenty of sips of water throughout the day.
Puffs or cheerios are great beach snacks – maybe because you can easily wipe sand off of them!
Check your Surroundings
Check the temperature of the sand before letting your baby sit or play in it – as it can get hot without you realizing it.
Look for choking hazards in the form of shells, rocks, or even trash left behind. Try to clear as much as you can from your baby's play area.
Babies are bound to put sand in their mouths – it's just a part of them exploring what it is.
Don't worry too much about it and try to either give them a pacifier or keep them occupied with things other than handfuls of sand.
Swim Diapers and Swimsuits
Swimsuits that cover the arms are best to keep the sun off of your baby's skin and reduce the amount of sunscreen you need to use.
Swim diapers are also great for water play, but remember, they do not absorb pee, so put them on when you get to the beach – not in the car!
You can find both disposable or reusable swim diaper options for your baby – just be sure to bring extras of whichever you choose.
Can I Take my Baby in the Water at the Beach?
Babies can go in the water, there are no rules against it. If you're swimming with your baby, be sure to hold them tight at all times and never let go – a beach baby carrier is a must!
To maximize fun, let the water only reach up to your baby's shoulders – keeping it out of their mouth, ears, and eyes.
They will still enjoy the water but without any risk of getting water somewhere that will make them uncomfortable.
If you're not comfortable swimming with your baby, you can still enjoy your time at the beach by sitting at the water's edge and letting them splash around.
Again, keep hands on baby at all times. It only takes a second for an accident to happen – especially with something as unpredictable as an ocean or lake.
When Can Babies Go to the Beach?
With a few simple precautions, there's no reason why you can't enjoy a fun day at the beach with your whole family – even your littlest one!
With a little planning, you can make sure that your baby has a safe and enjoyable day in the sand and surf.
Remember to always take caution in regards to weather and water conditions, pack plenty of beach essentials for baby like sunscreen and snacks, and most importantly – have fun!