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Taking a family beach vacation with a baby or newborn will certainly be more complicated than before you had kids. But many parents want to continue traveling even with the addition of a new little person. If you’re reading this article you are probably wondering when can you take a baby to the beach? There are several things to consider before taking a baby to the beach. Babies are extremely sensitive to the sun and heat, so you must be aware of how to keep your baby safe at the beach.
In this post, we will discuss taking a newborn to the beach, why waiting until 2 months is recommended, and find out when can a baby wear sunscreen. Also included are the best baby beach essentials, a beach packing list, and how to take a beach vacation with a baby.
These opinions are formed from the personal experience of parenting my own children. I cannot provide any medical advice, and your decision to take your little one to the beach should be shared with your doctor.
Taking a Newborn to the Beach
Babies under 6 months old should avoid too much sun exposure. For the first 6 months of life, your baby’s skin lacks melanin – the pigment to protect it from the sun. Therefore, baby skin will burn a lot easier than adult skin, or even older children’s skin.
Infants cannot regulate their body heat like grownups, so when they are left in a hot environment they can feel heat stress. Thus, babies younger than 6 months should be kept out of direct and indirect sunlight because of the risk of heatstroke.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that infants who are younger than six months must avoid sun exposure to prevent sunburn.
Can I take my 2-month-old to the Beach?
You don’t find many newborns at the beach because it is a lot more complicated to travel with an infant. Even so, it is not unheard of and many parents will take the necessary precautions before heading to the beach
Babies can go in the water from birth, but they can pick up an infection from water until they build a stronger immune system. Also, it’s important that babies don’t get too cold in the water because they cannot regulate their body temperature like adults. Babies can lose heat rapidly, nearly 4 times faster than an adult. Therefore, the general rule of thumb is to wait until your child is at least 2 months old before taking your baby swimming in the ocean, a lake, or pool.
Where you want to swim makes a difference. Be aware of the water temperature. If you feel like the water is cool then your baby will definitely feel the cold very quickly. If you are in a hot climate and the water is as warm as bathwater, then a baby over 2 months can certainly get wet for a few minutes.
Taking a Baby to the Beach
New parents often wonder “when can I take my baby to the beach”? It is important to avoid the hottest part of the day. Choose to visit the beach with a baby in the early morning before 11:00 AM, or later in the afternoon after 3:00 PM.
If your little one is an early riser then head to the beach in the morning. Get in a few hours on the beach first thing before it gets too hot. Then head back to your beach house for lunch and nap time. Return to the beach in the late afternoon when it is cooler and usually less crowded. Later in the day, the lighting is also perfect for taking photos of your family on the beach.
Babies younger than six months should stay in the shade and be kept out of the sun altogether. Your baby’s skin is delicate and can still burn even if it isn’t sunny, It is vital to protect your baby from the sun.
At what age can a baby wear Sunscreen?
To start wearing sunscreen your baby should be older than 6 months. Sunscreen for babies must be an SPF 30 or higher and remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours. I personally prefer to use a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF 50 on my children to provide greater protection.
If your child is younger than 6 months and you are not able to keep your baby out of the sun, you can apply a very small amount of water-resistant sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30. Ultimately the safest place for your baby is in the shade with their skin covered as much as possible.
Check out this Sunscreen Hack for Kids using a brush applicator.
Baby Beach Essentials
When taking an infant to the beach it helps to be prepared with the best baby beach essentials. These items will make your beach vacation with a baby less stressful for you and more enjoyable for your child.
The Baby Beach Essentials include:
- Baby Beach Tent
- Pop Up Canopy Tent or a Beach Umbrella
- Outdoor Beach Blanket
- Beach Bag
- Hooded Towels
- Beach Cover Up for Baby
- Beach Toys
- Small Inflatable Pool
- UV Sun Protective Swim Suit or Long Sleeve Rashguard
- Sun Hat
- Baby Sunglasses with Strap
- SPF 30+ Lip Balm
- Baby Water Shoes
- Infant Life Vest
- Wet/Dry Bag
- Swim Diapers
- Baby Wipes
- Hand Sanitizer
- Baby Powder
Learn more about a Family Beach Vacation
To discover why this baby beach stuff is important read my post about Baby Beach Accessories: The Must-Have Beach Gear. It will help you choose the best beach gear for your little one as well as learn some baby beach hacks. Find out about a baby powder beach hack (and it’s not for your baby’s butt).
In addition, you can read more about the Beach Essentials for Kids to help you prepare for a family beach vacation. This includes details about all the beach gear needed for your whole family (kids and adults). And for a more in-depth guide check out my Family Beach Vacation – Ultimate Guide & Packing Lists.
Beach Essentials Packing List
BONUS: Download our FREE Beach Essentials Packing List which is perfect for a Beach Day with Kids.
How to take a Beach Vacation with Baby
Taking a baby to the beach requires parents to adjust their expectations of what a beach vacation will be. It requires a lot more effort to take a family beach vacation, but it is doable and will even be enjoyable with the right preparation.
Parents will enjoy walking the beach with their newborn in a baby carrier, or sitting in the shade while their child naps in a baby beach tent (see also ‘Best Beach Tents‘). Ultimately getting out in nature and enjoying the fresh ocean breeze is healthy for you and your child.
There is no hard and fast rule about when you can go to the beach with a baby. There are precautions to be aware of so you can decide what is right for your family. The two most dangerous things for babies at the beach are the sun and the water. Take the necessary steps to keep your baby safe at the beach.
Avoid going to the beach during the hottest part of the day to prevent your baby from becoming overheated. Keep your baby in the shade and cover up their skin from the sun. If your baby is over 6 months then apply sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. To avoid water illness wait until your infant is at least 2 months old before taking them swimming. Be aware of the water temperature since a newborn cannot regulate their body temperature.
Beach Baby Summary
Finally, be prepared with the necessary Baby Beach Accessories to keep your child safe and comfortable at the beach. It really is worth the extra effort to make the trip more pleasant for you and your child.
And remember, let’s BE Family so you can enjoy the journey.
Until next time,
For more about family travel check out these posts:
Beach Essentials for Kids
Baby Beach Accessories: The Must-Have Beach Gear
Family Beach Vacation – Ultimate Guide & Packing Lists
Road Trip With A Baby: Tips To Help Parents Survive