Don’t let the risk of sunburns and sand-covered tots stop you from hitting the beach as a family this summer. There’s nothing a little shade, SPF and genius beach hacks can’t fix. Read on for 25 tips to make beach trips with your baby a breeze.
photo: Katie Taylor
1. Bring an inflatable pool and beach umbrella.
Buy a mini inflatable pool and beach umbrella (some pools even come with built-in shades) to keep baby cool and contained at the beach. This is especially handy to contain new crawlers and babies who put everything, including sand and rocks, in their mouth.
2. Pack a dampened towel for easy clean-up.
Dampen a small hand towel and hang it from a rod on your beach umbrella. Use it to wipe down little hands and faces after snack time and when baby eats and/or faceplants directly into the sand.
3. Load up your laundry basket.
Pack your beach gear into a laundry basket. If you have a younger baby, line the basket with extrasoft towels and use it as a bassinet for beach naps. Keep the basket well shaded while baby is in it.
photo: Team Johnson
4. Contain your crawler with a bed sheet.
Turn a fitted bed sheet upside down and place a bag or cooler in each of the four corners to keep the sheet extended. It’ll naturally create sides that can act as a barrier to sand and keep your curious baby from exploring the whole shore.
5. Pre-freeze snacks.
If your baby is eating solid foods, freeze a few food pouches the night before your beach outing. They’ll turn a chilly, slushy consistency at the beach and will help keep your baby cool and hydrated.
6. Spray away the heat.
Sometimes shade isn’t enough for keeping babies cool. Bring a small spray bottle filled with ice water to spray on baby at regular intervals and when they’re looking flushed.
photo: Maryignatiati via Pixabay
7. Remove sand with cornstarch.
The kitchen staple cornstarch is a surprisingly effective way to remove sand from baby’s skin. Sprinkle it onto exposed arms and legs and watch it do its magic. It works by drying off skin so sand wipes off easily and painlessly. Talc-free baby powder works well too.
8. Roll your load.
Bring your wagon or jogging stroller so you don’t have to carry baby along with the beach bags, cooler, umbrella and chairs you’re bringing. Pro tip: Dragging strollers backwards is easier than pushing them forward in the sand.
9. Use a pop-up tent for naps.
Plan on staying on the sand all day? Consider buying a small pop-up tent so baby can sleep in a cozy shaded spot away from the sun and sand.
10. Pour apple cider vinegar in a post-beach bath.
Despite our best efforts with sunscreen and UPF-treated bathing attire, sometimes babies get a little pink from the sun. To soothe sunburnt skin, add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to the bath that night. Apple cider vinegar can help soothe itching and burning.
11. Chill your sunscreen.
After you lather your little one in sunscreen before heading to the beach, stick the sunscreen in your cooler to keep it chilled. When you re-apply at the beach, you’ll cool down baby’s body temperature too.
12. Keep a stash of cool washcloths.
While you’re packing the cooler, add in a few damp washcloths in a plastic bag. They’ll clean up messes and can cool baby down quickly.
photo: Donnie Ray Jones via Flickr
13. Skip expensive beach toys.
The beach is the best toy you’ll have, so save your money on pricey beach toys. A bucket and shovel set is all you need to bring for beach-time fun. To add something extra, try a watering can, some bath toys or small cars and trucks.
14. Use a mesh laundry bag for beach toys.
When you’re ready to go home, load beach toys in a mesh laundry bag. The sand will naturally fall out as you go back to your car. And when you get home, you can hose down the contents to clean them right through the bag.
15. Freeze water bottles.
Place a few unopened water bottles in the freezer the day before your beach outing. The bottles act as ice packs to keep snacks and drinks cool, and you’ll have chilled water throughout the day.
photo: Sylviebliss via Pixabay
16. Don’t forget the hat.
Keeping baby safe from the sun should be your number one priority when at the beach. Bring a hat with a broad rim that not only covers your baby’s head, but also ears and neck. Hats with a UPF+ sun rating offer extra protection.
17. Leave extra towels in the car.
Bring along a few extra towels, including a hand towel for baby. If baby is wet or sandy, lay it over the car seat to make the ride home more comfortable.
18. Get a cooler on wheels
A cooler with wheels and lots of pockets means you can load it up with everything you need while keeping your hands free for holding your baby.
photo: KoalaParkLaundromat via Pixabay
19. Keep it brief.
Plan your beach outing around naptimes and mealtimes to keep crankiness at a minimum. A shorter beach trip also means toting less stuff and less chance of sunburn.
20. Bring a small fan.
If it’s not a windy day down by the shore, connect a battery-powered mini-clip fan to your umbrella. This will help keep your baby’s body temperature down and give everybody a break from the heat.
21. Create a sensory experience.
The beach offers lots of things for baby to touch and explore. Shells and rocks have interesting textures and colors (choose larger items and provide plenty of supervision to avoid a choking hazard). Pour some water on the sand so your little one can feel the difference between wet and dry sand.
22. Share new words.
Enrich baby’s vocabulary by pointing out boats, waves, umbrellas and everything else you see at the beach. Then write out the words in the sand.
photo: i play
23. Keep sunburns at bay.
Sunscreen is key, but swimsuits and hats with UPF+ protection, like those from i play, provide another important layer of protection. Reapply sunscreen to exposed body parts throughout the day and after being in the water.
24. Ditch your diaper bag.
Leave the diaper bag at home to keep it sand-free. Instead, buy an oversized beach bag and use a reusable or plastic bag for diapers and wipes. Extra plastic bags are handy for disposing of soiled diapers.
25. Dig a hole.
Use baby’s shovels to dig a hole in the sand for baby to sit and play in. The sand in the hole will be cooler than that on top, and you can keep baby’s toys and other items contained in one area.