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Your Baby’s First Beach Trip!

Hi guys! As an experienced dad, I’m excited to share my knowledge with you on how to prepare for your newborn’s first time in direct sunlight during a beach vacation. I remember the first time I took my baby to the beach, the overwhelming joy, and the tons of concerns that came along with it. 

We live on the Korean peninsula, and there are countless beautiful beaches that we’ve visited since my son was born. We still go to our favorite beach destination monthly and love the vibe of it all.  The pictures I’ve collected are from later months and years…not the first few times we visited the beach. Either way, we still keep him very protected.

The beach, with its warm(or hot) sand, cool water, and the soothing sound of waves, can be an exciting place for your little one. However, as new parents, it’s important to take a few precautions to ensure the safety and comfort of your baby. Just don’t overthink things and enjoy the day…

Make a Plan

The lovely beach environment presents us with some fresh air but also a unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to protecting a newborn baby from sun exposure. This is a particularly important consideration, as the tender skin of a newborn is highly sensitive and can be easily affected by the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

As a new mom or dad, you might be wondering when it’s safe to take your baby to the beach for the first time. You might have questions about what to pack in your beach bag, how to dress your baby, or how to change diapers on the beach. 

This guide aims to answer all these questions and more, to help you have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable first beach day with your newborn.

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Beach Essentials

Understanding Newborn Skin and Sun Exposure

The skin of young babies is delicate and thin, making it more susceptible to damage from sun exposure than the skin of older children or adults. Under the hot summer sun, a baby’s skin can burn in as little as 10 minutes! So, understanding the effects of sun exposure on your baby’s skin is super important for ensuring their safety and comfort on the beach.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against direct sun exposure for infants under six months. This is because their skin has yet to develop the protective melanin pigment that shields us from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. On top of that, a baby’s immune system is still developing, making them more vulnerable to skin damage and sunburn.

However, being cautious about sun exposure doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a day at the beach with your baby. With the right preparations and precautions, you can ensure that your baby remains safe while you both enjoy the beach.

Sun Shade for kids
Get Some Shade

Guidelines for Baby’s First Beach Day

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides guidelines that can help you ensure your baby’s first beach day is safe and enjoyable. According to the AAP, it’s a good idea to keep babies under six months of age out of direct sunlight. If this isn’t possible, they recommend using a sunshade or umbrella to provide shade for your little one.

The AAP also suggests dressing babies in lightweight, long-sleeved clothing and wide-brimmed hats to protect them from the sun. They recommend applying a minimal amount of broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to small areas of a baby’s skin that are not covered by clothing or a hat.

It’s also important to remember to keep your baby hydrated, especially during hot summer days. The AAP advises breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your infant more frequently than usual to prevent dehydration.

sunscreen
Photo by Kindel Media: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-person-applying-sunscreen-on-a-boy-s-arm-7863106/

Baby-Friendly Sunscreen

You’ve probably heard of the term “SPF” or Sun Protection Factor, but how important is it for your baby? Well, the SPF of a sunscreen indicates the level of protection it provides against the sun’s harmful UVB rays, which are responsible for sunburn and can contribute to skin cancer.

For babies, it’s critical to use baby-safe sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97% of UVB rays. However, sunscreen alone isn’t enough to protect your baby’s skin. You should also use other forms of sun protection, such as clothing, baby sun hat, and beach umbrella.

Baby Beach Tent for Sun Protection

One of the best ways to protect your baby from the sun at the beach is by using a baby beach tent. These portable, lightweight tents provide shade and a cool place for your baby to nap, play, and even have diaper changes.

When choosing a baby beach tent, look for one that is easy to set up, has good ventilation to prevent overheating, and, most importantly, offers UV protection. The tent should be made of UV-protective fabric to block out harmful rays. Some baby beach tents also come with a built-in pool, allowing your baby to enjoy the water in a safe and controlled environment.

Baby Beach Essentials

Packing your beach bag is an essential part of preparing for your baby’s first beach day. From rash guards to swim diapers, you need several items to ensure your baby’s comfort and safety at the beach.

Rash guards are a great idea for protecting your baby’s skin from the sun. These long-sleeved, lightweight shirts are made of UV-protective fabric and are perfect for babies who are not yet crawling. I discovered these rash guards while living in Korea. Here most people shield themselves from the sun and using these long-sleeved shirts is essential to protect from the hot sun. 

Swim diapers are another must-have for your beach bag. Unlike regular diapers, swim diapers are designed to hold solid waste without swelling up in the water. They come in both disposable and reusable varieties and are essential for keeping the beach and water clean. 

Rash guards are essential and I use them myself along with my son, of course. Also, keep in mind the hot sand. It can be very hot! So, many bring along some aqua shoes as well. 

Other essential items for your beach bag and diaper bag include a change of clothes for your baby, a wide-brimmed hat, a baby beach tent, sunscreen, and plenty of hydrating fluids.

Regular Diapers vs. Swim Diapers

Diaper changes at the beach can be a bit tricky, but with the right preparation, they can be managed smoothly. One of the main things to consider is the type of diaper to use.

Regular diapers are not designed for use in water. They can become heavy and uncomfortable when wet, and they do not effectively contain waste in a watery environment. On the other hand, swim diapers are specifically designed to be used in water. They are made of a material that does not swell up when wet, and they have tight leg openings to prevent leaks.

However, it’s important to note that swim diapers are not designed to absorb urine. They are only meant to contain solid waste. Therefore, it’s a good idea to change your baby into a swim diaper just before they go into the water and to change them back into a regular diaper once they’re out of the water. 

Extra Layers and Wide-Brimmed Hats

When dressing your newborn for the beach, it’s important to balance comfort and protection from the sun. Lightweight, breathable clothing is best, as it keeps your baby cool while protecting their skin from the sun.

A wide-brim hat is essential to protect your baby’s head, neck, face, and ears from the sun. Hats with a strap are a good choice, as they stay on better. For extra sun protection, you can also use a parasol or a baby beach tent.

In addition to sun protection, it’s also important to prepare for changes in temperature. The beach can get cool in the evening, so it’s a good idea to bring an extra layer for your baby. A lightweight blanket or sweater can help keep your baby comfortable as the temperature drops.

staying hydrated at the beach
Drink Plenty of Fluids

Hydration and Body Temperature Regulation

Hydration is important for babies, especially on hot summer days at the beach. Babies are more susceptible to dehydration than adults, as they have a higher percentage of body water and a faster metabolic rate. Therefore, it’s important to offer your very young baby breast milk or formula frequently to keep them hydrated.

Regulating your baby’s body temperature is also important. Babies are not as efficient at regulating their body temperature as adults, making them more susceptible to overheating. To help regulate your baby’s body temperature, keep them in the shade as much as possible, dress them in lightweight, breathable clothing, and offer plenty of fluids. Everyone should drink plenty of water during their beach outing. Period…

Keeping Your Baby Safe Near Water

Water safety is a crucial aspect of a beach day with your baby. Whether it’s a swimming pool or the sea, it’s important to always supervise your baby near water. Even a few inches of water can pose a danger to a small child.

If you’re at a beach with a lifeguard, choose a spot near the lifeguard station for added safety. However, remember that even with a lifeguard present, it’s essential to keep a watchful eye on your baby at all times.

If your baby is playing in the water, make sure it’s shallow and calm. Avoid areas with strong waves or currents. Using a baby beach tent with a built-in pool can be a great way to let your baby enjoy the water safely.

Preparing for a Beach Day with Your Baby

First thing, start by checking the weather forecast. Avoid the beach on extremely hot days, and aim for the time of day when the sun is not at its peak, such as early morning or late afternoon.

Pack your beach bag with all the essentials: sunscreen, a baby beach tent, a wide-brimmed hat, rash guards, swim diapers, a change of clothes, plenty of fluids, and snacks if your baby is old enough.

Remember to take frequent breaks from the sun, and keep your baby hydrated and cool. Always supervise your baby near water, and be mindful of changes in weather or temperature.

Recap Of The Essentials Plus Extras

Going online and looking for the best baby beach toys or the best baby beach hacks can be overwhelming, I know. I’m a Dad(an overly protective one at that)… So, I’ve come up with some cool stuff that you’ll need for your next beach adventure. These are from my personal list of ‘must-haves’ on a hot and sandy beach day. Enjoy!

Feet City Aqua Shoes

Feet City Aqua Shoes: These shoes are manufactured by a reputable brand known for producing high-quality water footwear. The Aqua Shoes offer excellent traction and durability, making them perfect for various water activities such as beachcombing, snorkeling, or swimming.

Best Beach Toys for Babies

Best Beach Toys for Babies: Awesome beach toys are an absolute must!

Max Nova Baby Sun Hat

Max Nova Baby Sun Hat: Max Nova is renowned for its innovative baby products, and their sun hat is no exception. Crafted from breathable yet protective fabric, this hat features a wide brim and an adjustable chin strap for a secure fit, offering superior sun protection for little ones.

Mambo Baby Float

Mambo Baby Float: Mambo is a trusted brand in the realm of baby swimming accessories. Their baby float boasts a secure design with a comfortable seat and safety straps, allowing infants to enjoy the water under close supervision.

Baby Beach Tent

Baby Beach Tent: A great baby beach tent is lightweight, easy to set up, and provides ample shade, making it an essential accessory for beach trips with infants.

WaterLand Baby Carrier!​

Baby Carrier Made for Water:  Known for their innovative approach to baby gear, this brand has developed a baby carrier specifically designed for water use. Made from quick-drying, water-resistant materials, this carrier ensures both baby and caregiver can enjoy aquatic adventures comfortably and safely.

Alvababy Swim Diapers

Alvababy Swim Diapers: Alvababy is a leading name in reusable baby products. Their swim diapers are not only eco-friendly but also feature adjustable snaps for a secure and leak-proof fit, allowing babies to splash around freely without any accidents.

Think Baby Cream Sun Protection

Think Baby Cream Sun Protection: Think Baby is a pioneer in producing safe and effective skincare products for babies and children. Their sun protection cream is formulated with non-nano zinc oxide and other natural ingredients, providing broad-spectrum SPF coverage without harmful chemicals.

Sestero Polarized Sunglasses​

Polarized Sunglasses: This brand is renowned for its high-quality eyewear, including sunglasses for both adults and children. Their polarized sunglasses feature shatterproof lenses and durable frames, ensuring optimal eye protection for babies during sunny days by the water.

Baby Rash Guard

Baby Rash Guard: Many brands specialize in creating stylish and functional clothing for babies and toddlers. Their baby rash guards are made from UPF-rated fabric, offering excellent sun protection while also protecting delicate skin from rashes and irritation caused by sand and saltwater.

Awesome Family-Friendly Beach Destinations

family friendly beach. Siesta Key Beach usa

North America: Top 5 Family-Friendly Beaches

1. Siesta Key Beach, Florida, USA

Siesta Key Beach is a true gem in the crown of Florida’s Gulf Coast. With its powdery white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters, it’s no wonder this beach consistently ranks among the best in the world. Families can enjoy a wide range of activities, from building sandcastles and playing in the gentle waves to exploring the charming beachfront shops and restaurants.

2. Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA

Nestled along the rugged Pacific Northwest coastline, Cannon Beach is a true nature lover’s paradise. Families can explore the iconic Haystack Rock, search for tide pool creatures, and take in the breathtaking views of the dramatic cliffs and crashing waves. The town itself is brimming with art galleries, boutiques, and cozy cafes, making it a delightful destination for the whole family.

3. Playa Conchal, Costa Rica

Venture south to the stunning shores of Costa Rica, and you’ll discover Playa Conchal, a beach that truly lives up to its name. Meaning “Shell Beach” in Spanish, this stretch of coastline is renowned for its sparkling, shell-filled sand and crystal-clear, turquoise waters. Families can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, and even spotting wildlife like howler monkeys and tropical birds in the nearby forests.

4. Kaanapali Beach, Hawaii, USA

No list of family-friendly beaches would be complete without a mention of Hawaii’s iconic Kaanapali Beach. With its gentle waves, soft golden sand, and stunning views of the West Maui Mountains, this beach is a true paradise for families. Enjoy a variety of water sports, explore the nearby Black Rock, or simply relax and soak up the sun.

5. Huntington Beach, California, USA

Dubbed the “Surf City USA,” Huntington Beach is a must-visit destination for families seeking a quintessential California beach experience. With its long stretch of sandy shores, bustling pier, and world-class surfing, this beach offers something for everyone. Families can enjoy beachside bike rides, sandcastle building, and even witness the thrilling surf competitions.

Europe: Top 5 Family-Friendly Beaches

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece beach on a clear day

1. Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece

Prepare to be awestruck by the breathtaking Navagio Beach, also known as “Shipwreck Beach,” on the Greek island of Zakynthos. Surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and accessible only by boat, this hidden gem boasts crystal-clear waters and a unique shipwreck that adds to its allure. Families can explore the cove, swim in the refreshing waters, and capture unforgettable memories.

2. Praia de Falesia, Algarve, Portugal

We love Portugal!! The Algarve region of Portugal is renowned for its stunning beaches, and Praia de Falesia is a true standout. Families can enjoy the long stretch of golden sand, explore the dramatic red-and-white cliffs, and indulge in the region’s delicious seafood. With a variety of water sports and family-friendly activities, this beach is a perfect destination for a sun-soaked European getaway.

3. Haukland Beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Venture to the rugged and breathtaking Lofoten Islands in Norway, and you’ll discover the gem that is Haukland Beach. Surrounded by towering mountains and pristine, turquoise waters, this beach offers a truly unique and serene experience for families. Explore the nearby hiking trails, go fishing, or simply bask in the stunning natural beauty of this magical place.

4. Jurata Beach, Hel Peninsula, Poland

On the Hel Peninsula in Poland, you’ll find the charming Jurata Beach, a family-friendly destination that boasts soft, golden sand and crystal-clear waters. Families can enjoy a variety of water sports, explore the nearby forests and dunes, and indulge in the local cuisine. With its laid-back atmosphere and stunning natural setting, Jurata Beach is a hidden gem worth discovering.

5. Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain

The Balearic Islands are renowned for their stunning beaches, and Formentera is a true standout. This small, car-free island is home to some of the most beautiful and family-friendly beaches in the world, with turquoise waters, white sand, and a laid-back, Mediterranean vibe. Families can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, and simply soaking up the sun in this idyllic island paradise.

Asia

Boracay, Philippines beach

1. Boracay, Philippines

The Philippines is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world, and Boracay is undoubtedly one of the best. With its powdery white sand, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant beach culture, this island destination is a true family-friendly paradise. Families can enjoy a wide range of water sports, explore the lively beachfront promenade, and indulge in the delicious local cuisine.

2. Ngapali Beach, Myanmar

Nestled along the Bay of Bengal, Ngapali Beach in Myanmar is a hidden gem that offers a truly serene and family-friendly experience. With its pristine, golden sand, swaying palm trees, and calm, turquoise waters, this beach is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Families can enjoy a variety of water sports, explore the nearby fishing villages, and immerse themselves in the rich culture of Myanmar.

3. Nusa Dua Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Bali is renowned for its stunning beaches, and Nusa Dua is undoubtedly one of the best for families. This well-developed resort area boasts a long stretch of soft, white sand, crystal-clear waters, and a variety of family-friendly amenities. Families can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and even spotting sea turtles, all while surrounded by the island’s lush, tropical beauty.

4. Phuket, Thailand

The island of Phuket in Thailand is a true beach lover’s paradise, and it’s especially well-suited for families. From the lively Patong Beach to the more serene Karon and Kata Beaches, there’s something for everyone. Families can enjoy a wide range of water sports, explore the nearby islands, and immerse themselves in the vibrant Thai culture.

5. Langkawi, Malaysia

Nestled in the Andaman Sea, the Malaysian island of Langkawi is a true gem for families seeking a beach vacation. With its pristine, white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush, tropical forests, this island offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Families can enjoy a variety of water sports, explore the mangrove forests, and even spot wildlife like the iconic Langkawi eagle.

Australia and Oceania

Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

1. Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

No list of family-friendly beaches would be complete without mentioning the iconic Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. This vibrant, crescent-shaped beach is a true hub of activity, with a lively promenade, trendy cafes, and a variety of water sports. Families can enjoy swimming, surfing, or simply soaking up the sun and the laid-back Australian beach culture.

2. Muri Beach, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Venture to the stunning South Pacific and discover the gem that is Muri Beach in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. This picturesque stretch of sand is surrounded by turquoise lagoons, gentle waves, and a tranquil, island atmosphere. Families can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, and even spotting the unique wildlife that calls this paradise home.

3. Onetangi Beach, Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Just a short ferry ride from Auckland, Waiheke Island is home to the stunning Onetangi Beach. This long, golden-sand beach offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and family-friendly amenities. Families can enjoy swimming, building sandcastles, and exploring the nearby vineyards and hiking trails.

4. Natadola Beach, Fiji

The tropical paradise of Fiji is home to many stunning beaches, but Natadola Beach stands out as a true family-friendly gem. With its soft, white sand, crystal-clear waters, and lush, palm-fringed backdrop, this beach offers a truly idyllic escape. Families can enjoy a variety of water sports, explore the nearby villages, and immerse themselves in the warm hospitality of the Fijian people.

5. Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia

The Gold Coast in Australia is renowned for its stunning beaches, and Surfers Paradise is a true standout for families. This vibrant, lively beach offers a wide range of activities, from swimming and surfing to beachside amusement parks and bustling promenades. Families can enjoy the perfect balance of sun, sand, and entertainment in this iconic Australian destination.

Caribbean: Top 5 Family-Friendly Beaches

1. Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos

The Turks and Caicos Islands are home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world, and Grace Bay Beach is undoubtedly a standout for families. This pristine, white-sand beach boasts crystal-clear, turquoise waters and a variety of family-friendly amenities, including beachside restaurants, water sports, and even a nearby golf course.

2. Eagle Beach, Aruba

The southern Caribbean island of Aruba is renowned for its stunning beaches, and Eagle Beach is a true gem for families. This wide, white-sand beach offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and family-friendly activities, including swimming, snorkeling, and even spotting the iconic Aruban divi-divi trees.

3. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, and Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman is a true standout. This long, crescent-shaped beach boasts soft, white sand and crystal-clear, turquoise waters, making it a perfect destination for families seeking a sun-soaked getaway.

4. Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico

Venture to the stunning island of Culebra, off the coast of Puerto Rico, and you’ll discover the gem that is Flamenco Beach. This picturesque, crescent-shaped beach boasts soft, white sand, calm, turquoise waters, and a variety of family-friendly amenities, including beachside restaurants and water sports.

5. Shoal Bay East, Anguilla

The island of Anguilla is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the Caribbean, and Shoal Bay East is a true standout for families. This long, white-sand beach offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and family-friendly activities, including swimming, snorkeling, and exploring the nearby beachside restaurants and shops.

Last Thoughts

With a little preparation, taking your newborn to the beach for the first time is the best way to bond and have fun. With all the info provided and some safety precautions, you can ensure that your baby is safe and comfortable, allowing you to relax and enjoy the day.

For more beach essentials you can view one of my older beach posts. 

Remember to protect your baby’s delicate skin from the sun, keep them hydrated, and always supervise them near water. With these measures in place, your day at the beach can be a memorable start to a lifetime of fun and safe beach experiences with your baby.

I hope this guide has helped you feel more prepared for your newborn’s first beach day. Remember, every baby is different, so paying attention to your baby’s needs and comfort is important. Happy beach day!

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