Father and son at the beach
Daddy and Son time

A Day at the Beach with Your Newborn

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 the beach monthly and love the vibe of it all. The pictures I’ve collected are in later months and year…not the first few times we visited the beach. Eitherway, 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…

The lovely beach environment presents us with some fresh air but also a unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to protecting our little ones 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 a newborn 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 crucial 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.

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

Importance of Sun Protection Factor for Your Baby

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 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, hats, and shade.

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.

Essential items for the beach, baby
My son with a Rash guard and Sun hat

Beach Bag: From Rash Guards to Swim Diapers

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.

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 of 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.

Diaper Changes at the Beach: 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.

The Importance of 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 on Hot Summer Days

Hydration is crucial 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 baby breastmilk 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.

Keeping Your Baby Safe Near the Swimming Pool and Sea

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

As a new parent, preparing for a beach day with your baby might seem daunting. But with the right preparation, it can be a fun and memorable experience.

Start by checking the weather forecast. Avoid the beach on extremely hot days, and aim for times 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.

Creating Memorable and Safe Beach Experiences for Your Newborn

Taking your newborn to the beach for the first time is a special experience. With careful preparation and the right 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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