If you’re ready to head back to the beach, check out this must-have beach gear for babies and toddlers. You’ll find everything you need, from a baby beach tent to swim diapers. Read on for beach gear essentials that guarantee maximum fun in the sun.
Editor’s note: Before you leave, check if your beach has restrictions or guidelines in place about social distancing.
Babies' sensitive skin needs serious protection from the sun. Opt for a mineral formula like the zinc oxide-based Baby Bum SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, which provides lightweight, non-greasy coverage without chemical sunscreens, parabens or other ingredients you may not want to put on your baby. It's packed full of coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter to hydrate baby's skin while it protects it from the sun's harsh rays.
Available at babybum.com, $13.99.
Check out more of our favorite baby sunscreens.
Serious Sun Protection for the Whole Family
Keep your little one's sensitive skin shaded with a wide-brimmed hat, and add a sun-protective rashguard or bathing suit along with sunscreen. Snapper Rock suits contain UPF50+ sun protection and block 98% of harmful UVA and UVB rays. Find cute suits for babies, toddlers, bigger kids and even adults.
Available at snapperrock.com.
A Stroller Made for Sand
Parent pro tip: Dragging strollers behind you is the easiest way to make your way through sand. Better yet, regular beachgoers need the Priam stroller from Cybex. Put the luxury stroller into two-wheel mode and it's perfect for cruising on sandy beaches with all your gear until you find the perfect sunny spot. This sleek stroller features all-wheel suspension for a smooth ride wherever you are, a carrycot with mesh windows to keep baby cool, one-handed recline and folding, and a seat that can be placed forward-facing or parent-facing.
Available at cybex-online.com, $999.95 to $1,699.95.
Cozy Hooded Towels
Hooded towels aren't just for bath time. They're the perfect way to keep baby comfortable on breezy beach days. We love Green Sprouts' cheery, soft towels made from organic cotton muslin and knitted terry. They even have hand pockets for maximum coziness.
Available at greensprouts.com, $25.
Effective Reusable Swim Diapers
If you're swimming a lot this summer, go for a reusable diaper in an adorable print like those from Bambino Mio. They're less bulky and likely to fit better than their disposable counterparts, so messes are less...messy. They come in an array of fun prints, including blue squid, green frogs, pink mermaids, and purple seahorses.
Available at bambinomio.com, $15.49.
Prefer the convenience of a disposable swim diaper? Read on.
The Smart Disposable Swim Diaper
Babyganics swim diapers have a genius color-changing design for safe fun in the sun. The diaper starts with one green frog on it, but once your baby goes into the sun, a water scene appears. After about 20 to 30 minutes of sun exposure, the frog turns from green to brown. This is your reminder to put baby in the shade and reapply sunscreen.
Available at amazon.com, $22.94 for 24.
A Fun Float
In calm waters, let baby laze around on this fun watermelon float from Big Mouth. Made for age 1 and up, the float features leg holes and a supported seat that helps keep baby upright. Pair with a baby life jacket (like Stearns' Puddle Jumper, below) for additional water safety and always stay within arms' reach.
Available at amazon.com, $13.77.
A Comfortable Life Jacket
Wearing a Puddle Jumper helps toddlers play in the water with more independence. This US Coast Guard-approved life jacket comes in soft woven polyester and an array of fun, kid-friendly prints. While kids can float independently wearing one of these, parents or another responsible adult should always stay nearby and provide "touch supervision," meaning they're close enough to reach the child at all times. Designed for kids 30-50 pounds.
Available at walmart.com, $17.84.
Baby's Paddling Pool
The youngest of babies can splash around safely in the Spläsh pool from bblüv. Made from durable waterproof fabric (so you can place it on a beach blanket or in a tent), this pool comes together quickly by inserting the included noodle foam into the pool's liner. Add a little water and baby stays cool and can splash like the big kids. It comes with a collapsible bucket that's great for holding beach toys. Fold and store it in its carry bag, also included.
Available at amazon.com, $29.99.
Is your babe too big for this pool? Read on.
For toddlers, pack a small baby pool like this one, which can be stored in a flat zippered bag when not in use. Fill with a little ocean water and add a few small toys. If you're lucky, baby will play happily, stay cool and never realize they can scale the sides!
Available at hearthsong.com, $39.98.
The Coolest Shades
Babiators carries cute sunglasses in sizes 0-6+, with UV400 lenses that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection. The frames are made from flexible rubber, and the lenses are impact- and shatter-resistant. Add the silicone strap to keep baby from ripping off their shades. Because they will definitely try.
Available at babiators.com, $20-$35, plus $4.95 for the optional strap.
The Perfect Pop-up Tent
A beach tent, especially one thats folds flat and is easy to set up, is a smart way to keep your little one safe from the sun. We love this stylish option from Pottery Barn Kids. Set out some fun toys for playtime, and use it for beach naps or a private nursing spot.
Available at potterybarnkids.com, $58.99 (small) or $76.99 (large).
The Do-It-All Beach Bag
This beach tote is more of a system than a simple bag. It comes complete with 4 buckets and 2 shovels, perfect for introducing baby to the art of making sand castles, along with a soft cooler to keep snacks and bottles chilled, and outside pockets for important extras. Everything fits into an easy-to-carry shoulder bag so you have one arm free for baby. You'll definitely find uses for this bag long after the baby stage.
Available at mybeachmate.com, $119.50.
With Fisher Price's On-the-Go Baby Dome, your baby can nap or play outside, since its dual canopy system blocks sun from all angles. You'll also love that the whole thing folds flat, making it easy to take anywhere. It can also be used indoors.
Available at amazon.com, $59.
Sand & Surf Shoes
If your little one is walking, protect feet from hot sand, rocky terrain and slippery puddles with a pair of Stride Rite Phibians. The extra-grippy, flexible sneaker is made for playing in and out of water. Beyond the beach, they're your go-to shoe for splash pads and pools.
Available at striderite.com, $29.95.
First Sand Toy Set
Your little one might not be ready for sand castles yet, but with this beach toy set from B. Toys, they'll be able to explore the shore. It comes with a bucket, shovel, rake, 4 sand molds, a watering can, truck and a spinning pinwheel sure to keep baby entertained.
Available at amazon.com, $17.99.
The Wet Suit Solution
Strip wet and sandy suits off your kids and stow them in this waterproof wet bag from Green Sprouts so everything else in your tote doesn't get soggy. It's also the perfect spot to store dirty bibs, diapers, wipes, snack wrappers and anything else you want to keep separate.
Available at amazon.com, $8.47.
The Ultimate Blanket & Cooler
One part water-resistant, easy-to-tote blanket and one part cooler bag, the Central Park Outdoor Blanket & Cooler Bag from Skip Hop is a must for beach trips. It's the easiest way to keep your baby's bottle, sippy cup and snacks cool and your spot in the sand dry.
Available at skiphop.com, $32.99.
— Julie Seguss & Eva Ingvarson Cerise
featured photo: tung256 via Pixabay